UK set for a multiscreen Christmas as catch-up, on-demand flourish | Second Screen | News | Rapid TV News
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UK viewers are more taken by TV gadgets than those in other major countries and will break free from the Christmas TV schedule, says the country’s broadcast regulator Ofcom.

RTVN 10 Dec UK set for a multiscreen Christmas Ofcom's International Communications Market Report 2015 found that overall people in the UK watch three hours 40 minutes of TV per day, just below the average among sampled countries of three hours 43 minutes. Americans watch the most TV overall (four hours 42 minutes), while the Swedish watch the least (two hours 33 minutes).

Yet the UK saw the greatest decline in traditional live TV viewing among comparator countries, decreasing by 4.9% from 2013 to 2014. The report discovered that 31 million (70%) of UK adults will watch TV using free-to-air catch-up services – such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub Player, All 4 or Sky-on-Demand — this December, putting the UK ahead of all other major European countries and the USA, Japan and Australia.

Moreover, Ofcom claims that TV viewers in the UK appear to be the most technologically-advanced of European nations, as the growing trend for time-shifted viewing offers an end to the traditional battle for the remote control this Christmas. Seven in ten owners of the UK's connected TV owners are watching content from catch-up services, while more than half (54%) are watching content via a subscription service such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

UK consumers and advertisers in this country spent £908 million on these services over the last year, up 44% from £631 million in 2013, and from just £102 million in 2009. Yet Ofcom also noted the small scale of such sums revealing that in 2014 the TV industry as a whole generated £14 billion in revenues, 45% of which was generated by pay-TV subscriptions.

Online-enabled adults in the UK are the most likely to watch catch-up TV on a tablet (16%) and use an online service to watch TV or films (81%). The UK was also found to be a leader for viewing on connected TVs, with 42% of homes owning a TV connected to the Internet - higher than any country sampled except Spain. More than half (54%) of UK adults now own a tablet, and two-thirds (67%) own a smartphone.

The Ofcom research also found that commensurate with this shift to online was a rapid decline of DVD. In every sampled country, a large proportion of people reported watching DVDs or Blu-Ray discs less this year (32% in the UK), while only a small proportion (8% in the UK) say they are doing so more.