Time-shifted viewing increasingly becoming the norm for UK TV viewers

Friday, November 15th, 2013 
Kantar Media logo

Newly released insights from Kantar Media’s futurePROOF study on the ownership and use of digital technologies and media in Britain reveal that, whilst most people currently prefer to watch “must-see TV” at the time of broadcast, the signs are that this will soon change.

According to the futurePROOF study, half of the British adult population (53%) claim ownership of a PVR (such as Sky+, V+ or YouView) at home. Further, half (49%) say they have watched television on-demand in the past month, using any device. However, there is a high level of cross-over between these groups, leaving 31% of GB adults still in the analogue age without a PVR and not actively using on-demand TV (51% of whom are aged 55 or over).

There is a hierarchy of viewing choices for TV series that people really want to watch: live TV remains the preferred viewing option for most people (51%). This is followed by recording to watch on PVR (34%) and then viewing on-demand (10%).

But there are strong pointers to a not-too-distant future where time-shifting is the default behaviour for most viewers, most of the time, and live viewing is mainly reserved for event TV. It is those people who say they both have a PVR and have used on-demand TV who are already more likely to choose to watch a series via PVR (52%) than live (38%) or on-demand (10%). Similarly, those aged under 35 are less likely to choose live TV (40%) than time-shifting (PVR 37%, on-demand 17%).

futurePROOF reveals that PVRs are seen as more convenient and reliable than on-demand TV viewing. 64% of PVR users say they feel more at ease setting their PVR to record a TV programme than relying on on-demand services and 58% use the PVR rather than on-demand so they can keep access to programmes for longer.

On-demand is seen more as a catch-up facility, with 70% of on-demand users claiming they only use on-demand services to catch up on programmes they have missed. In addition, the availability of on-demand services on other screens is key to many, with 47% of on-demand users stating that they often use on-demand services to watch programmes when they are not in front of a TV set.

Trevor Vagg, Director, Kantar Media Custom, comments “futurePROOF’s qualitative research indicates that live television is seen as a convenient way to transition from work to relaxation and the best way to experience “unmissable” moments. The social opportunity to “media-mesh” with live content is also a factor that will surely continue to influence viewing choices. However, the ease of use and convenience of PVRs, and to a lesser extent on-demand services, is leading viewers towards a preference for being in control of when they watch their favourite programmes.”