Television Business International

VOD and second screen use becoming widespread in the UK

A majority of viewers use second screen devices while watching TV, while about three UK viewers in ten are using video-on-demand services from the likes of Virgin Media, BSkyB and BT, according to regulator Ofcom.

According to Ofcom’s survey of UK audience attitudes to the broadcast media for 2012, seven viewers in ten said they used their mobile phones while watching TV, with 41% doing this every day. Fifty-four per cent said they used the internet at the same time as watching TV.

The main reasons for watching VOD services were because viewers “missed the programme/film when it was on TV”, cited by 76%, when they thought “there is nothing on ‘normal TV’ to watch”, cited by 54%, and when they “wanted to watch programme/film at a time that suits me”, cited by 46%.

Use of catch-up TV as a convenience has grown from 34% in 2011 to 43% in 2012. Among catch-up TV users, 62% said they used the service when the missed a programme or film, 43% said they used it to watch programmes at times that suited them and 43%“when there is nothing on ‘normal TV’ to watch”.

Thirty-five per cent of internet users said they used the internet to watch TV shows online or download them, with 36% saying they watched TV clips from sites other than the broadcaster’s own. Fifty-nine per cent of those that watched TV via the internet did so several times a week.

The Ofcom survey also found that awareness of product placement in TV shows grew from 39% in 2010 to 50% in 2012, following the authorisation of product placement in UK-produced shows in February 2011. Of those aware of sponsorship, 55% said that the present amount was acceptable but that they wouldn’t want to see more, while 22% said there was already more than they were happy with and 9% said they would be happy with some more. Attitudes towards advertising in general were split between those who thought the present amount was acceptable but that they wouldn’t want to see more and those who thought there was already too much.

Asked whether TV programmes had improved, stayed the same or worsened in the past 12 months, 55% of UK adults said that they had ‘stayed the same’, up from 47% in 2005. The proportion saying programmes had ‘got worse’ fell from 40% in 2005, to 31% in 2012, and the proportion saying TV programmes had improved grew slightly from 10% in 2005 to 13% in 2012.

Older viewers were more likely to say that programmes had got worse, while younger viewers and those in the 35-54 age range were more likely to feel they had improved.