a a a Display Options Cymraeg
Follow Ofcom on Facebook Follow Ofcom on Twitter Subscribe to the Ofcom RSS Follow Ofcom on YouTube Follow Ofcom on YouTube

Independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries.

Search Ofcom


TV and audio-visual

Viewers watched an average of four hours per day in 2011 – up from 3.7 hours in 2004

Viewers watched an average of four hours per day in 2011 up from 3.7 hours in 2004.

Over a third (37%) of UK adults with home internet watch online catch-up TV.

Some 5% of UK households now own an internet connected smart TV

More than one third (35%) of TVs sold in the UK in the first quarter of 2012 were either super-large (33 to 42) or jumbo sized (43 and over). This compares with just 1% of TVs of these sizes that were sold in 2001.

Total UK TV industry revenues increased by 4.9% year on year in 2011, reaching 12.3bn. This was driven by increases in subscriptions (up 8.3%) and advertising (up 2.1%).

 Download this section

 Download full document 

People in Scotland watch more TV (4.5 hours per day) than the UK average (4 hours).

Some 44% of homes have satellite on their main set. Penetration is higher in rural areas (54%) where cable services have lower availability.

Almost half (47%) of homes in Scotland say they have high definition TV (HDTV) channels, five percentage points above the UK average of 42%.

HDTV take-up is particularly high in Scotlands rural areas, where over half (53%) of homes claim to have HDTV channels.

Four per cent of TV households in Scotland own a smart TV, on par with the UK average.

 Download this section

 Download full document

Seventy one per cent of adults say TV is their main source of local news, higher than the UK average (53%) and the highest of all the nations.

Spend by the BBC and ITV1 on first-run originated TV programming for viewers in Wales was up 3% on 2010, the only year-on-year increase among the four nations. However, the five-year trend shows a decline of 24%.

S4C had a year-on-year reduction in spend but an increase in the number of first-run originated hours.

Fifty three per cent of homes have satellite TV for their main TV set, higher than in England and Scotland and above the UK average (41%)

 Download this section

 Download full document

Some 65% of TV homes in Northern Ireland have pay-TV services, slightly higher than the UK average of 60%.

Spend on first-run originated programming by the BBC and UTV for viewers in Northern Ireland was down 36% since 2006, giving Northern Ireland the largest decrease across the nations over a five-year period.

However, spend per head of the population remains highest in Northern Ireland at 13.63, compared to a UK average of 4.35.

In television news, UTVs early evening bulletin continues to attract more viewers than the equivalent BBC programme, one of only two ITV regions where this is the case.

People in Northern Ireland are more likely to cut spend on pay TV than on other communications services. At 30%, this is almost twice the UK average (16%).

  Download this section

  Download full document

Global TV revenues increased in 2011, by 6.7% year on year, to £258bn. Global subscription revenues show little sign of slowing down and increased for the fourth consecutive year, from £95bn in 2007 to £133bn in 2011 a compound annual growth rate of 9%. The global recovery in net advertising revenues seen in 2010 has been sustained in 2011, with revenues increasing by 3.5% (or 3bn) to £105bn year on year.

By the end of 2011, the vast majority of homes had digital television in the UK, France and Spain. In the UK, 99% of TV homes had access to digital TV at the end of 2011, a figure surpassed only by Spain where, following the completion of switchover, access to DTV stands at 100%. Digital switchover in the UK was completed in 2012. In France, penetration of digital TV stood at 97% in 2011.

In the UK, satellite TV (including Freesat) was the largest platform (44% of TV homes) while terrestrial TV was the main platform in 38% of TV homes. Digital satellite was also the most popular platform in Germany, Ireland, Poland and Brazil. While digital satellite may not be the top technology choice in many countries, it is often the second most popular platform, taking second place in ten of the 17 countries in our report.

Value-added services such as digital video recorders and high definition TV continue to grow in the UK. Of the nine countries surveyed, the UK recorded the greatest uptake in DVRs (39%) in 2011, followed by the US (32%) and Australia (29%). The UK also has one of the highest proportions of TV homes with high definition – at 41%, higher than France (18%), Germany (28%) and Japan (31%), but behind the US (49%).

UK consumers are most likely to access TV content over the internet, compared to other countries in our research. Almost a quarter (23%) of UK internet users claimed to do this every week driven by the popularity in the UK of internet TV catch-up services from the free-to-air broadcasters, such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD and ITV Player. The US ranked second, where 17% of internet users claim to access TV content over the web on a weekly basis.

The UK has the third highest level of scheduled linear TV viewing, of the comparator countries, at four hours per person per day. Despite the increase in online TV, scheduled linear television remains popular, with minutes of viewing per person increasing among most comparator countries. Only Italy (253 minutes per person per day) and the US (293 minutes) watch more television than the UK.

  Download this section

  Download full document

Back to top