Brits lead the world for watching TV with tech, apparently

How often do Britons check the TV schedule? Not as often as the rest of the world, apparently.

A new Ofcom report reveals that UK residents are now using TV gadgets more than any other major country.

The telecoms regulator says 70% of UK adults – around 31 million people – will watch TV using free-to-air catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub this December.

That puts the UK ahead of “all other major European countries and the USA, Japan and Australia”.

“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,” writes Ofcom.

Adults in the UK are the most likely to watch catch-up TV on a tablet (16%) or use an online service to watch TV or films (81%), according to the report.

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However, Ofcom says that “despite these trends”, traditional TV is still the most popular way to watch TV. Ofcom specifically notes New Year’s Eve, when “more than nine in 10 viewers (11.4 million) watched live at midnight last year”.

The findings, which were published in Ofcom’s International Communications Market Report 2015, also reveal that UK citizens watch three hours and 40 minutes of TV each day, on average.

That’s below the average three hours and 43 minutes, and less than America, whose citizens lead the pack with four hours and 24 minutes of TV viewing per day.

Swedes were the least prolific TV watchers however, with a daily average of two hours and 33 minutes.

Ofcom also reports that the UK saw the greatest decline in traditional live TV viewing between 2013 and 2014, with a fall of 4.9%.

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Interestingly, the UK also has the most televisions connected to the internet, with 42% of homes now owned a ‘Smart TV’.

We’ve also collectively spent £908 million on on-demand services this year, up 44% from £631 million in 2013, and significantly leading 2009’s £102 million.

“UK viewers won’t be tied to the TV schedule this Christmas,” says James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research. “More than anywhere else, we’re watching TV and films at a time that suits us, on a range of devices, in and out of the home.”

He adds: “So this year, more people can fit their festive TV viewing around opening presents and carving the turkey.”