UK now a nation of on-demand video converts

SERVICES such as the BBC’s iPlayer and Netflix have led to an explosion in the popularity of on-demand video, with the average Brit now spending six hours a week using catch-up services.

A study from YouGov, in conjunction with the internet-connected set-top box company YouView, claims that on-demand viewing now accounts for a fifth of the 31 hours the average Brit spends watching video content a week. More than half of the people surveyed said they use their computer to watch TV, while 14 per cent do so through a games console and 25 per cent use a tablet computer.

Although live broadcasts remain by far the most popular way to watch TV, followed by recorded programmes, internet-connected viewing has come from nowhere just a few years ago to take up a significant chunk of screen time. “Television is a huge part of British life but we know the way people view it is changing beyond all recognition,” said Steve Conway, YouView’s head of marketing. “What is becoming important to TV fans is being able to watch what they want, whenever they want it and this research supports that.”

YouView, which is backed by the BBC and ITV and is used in TalkTalk and BT’s TV services, recently said that 400,000 homes are now using its technology. Other on-demand services such as Lovefilm and Netflix have also become popular, while Sky has attempted to keep up with the competition by adding catch-up services on its own set-top boxes.

Unsurprisingly, the research showed that internet TV services are most popular among young adults, although catch-up still accounts for 14 per cent of over-55s’ viewing.

Not only is on-demand viewing on the rise, but one in four Brits say they watch more TV than five years ago. One in 10 claim to use a computer more often than a TV set for viewing shows, and the average home has four devices on which one can watch TV programmes.