Live TV lives - accounting for 88% of viewing despite VOD boom

The majority (88 per cent) of TV is still viewed live despite the prominence of video-on-demand (VOD) services such as Netflix, according to a study from BARB.

Viewers are still favouring TV viewing despite increasing options

Research for Thinkbox, conducted by IpsosMediaCT, saw 28 per cent of 1,010 respondents claim to watch live TV to see new content immediately as it is broadcast.

A total 23 per cent used live TV schedules as a means of discovering new programmes while a further 17 per cent claimed it helped them bond with friends and family.

However, when asked how much of their overall TV consumption is live, respondents claimed it only accounted for 57 per cent, way under the UK average of 88 per cent.

When asked which device offers the best viewing experience, the TV was by far the most popular platform winning 88 per cent of the vote. Laptops came second with six per cent followed by desktop computers which accounted for three per cent. Tablets and smartphones were the favoured platforms of only two per cent.

Well over a third (41 per cent) of respondents cited the ability to access content they had missed as the primary reason to resort to on-demand services. A further 31 per cent claimed they relied on a second screen to watch what they want when others were using the TV set. A quarter used streaming to watch content in rooms without a TV.

Nicole Greenfield-Smith, research controller at Thinkbox, said: “This research explains how TV is changing but also, importantly how the fundamentals remain the same. It shows how the TV set in the living room remains at the centre of our viewing and the human desire to live in the moment, to belong and to share experiences is reflected in the continuing dominance of live TV.

“People are also relishing watching TV in new ways, on-demand and on new devices, as an additional activity not as a substitute. It is a testament to the attraction of live TV that the main reason to watch TV on other screens is to catch up with a missed show.”

Despite the rise of viewing on mobile and tablet devices 55 per cent claimed they only ever watch content on their TV set.

These findings further support research from Broadstream Solutions, published in August, claiming that 89 per cent of viewers still regularly use the TV to watch their content live.

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