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The UK is a Nation of Bingewatchers, Says New Ofcom Report

By Tom Pritchard on at

It's no secret that the way we've watched television has changed a lot thanks to the internet, but now some new Ofcom figures show just how much. And it's all thanks to the rise in availability of high-speed interwebz.

Long gone are the good old days when you had to wait weeks between new episodes, and then forget everything that happened. Nowadays you can often watch an entire series in one sitting, ready to promptly forget everything that happened when it returned the following year. According to Ofcom, 79 per cent of UK adults (around 40 million people) now watch multiple episodes of a TV series in one sitting.

Considering the population of the country is just under 66 million, that's quite a hefty number.

35 per cent of the bingewatchers do it every single week, and 55 per cent do it on a less regular monthly basis. When asked why they preferred to binge, 70 per cent answered that they found the process more relaxing, while another 24% do it so they can discuss their favourite programmes with friends.

Despite that 25 per cent claim they binge because they're scared of spoilers, and 16 per cent felt pressured into keeping up with the progress of friends and family. Sadly 32 per cent of adults admitted that they often watch too much TV, and end up losing sleep as a result. As a result 35 per cent of binge watchers have taken steps to cut down their addiction, including rationing their episodes (19 per cent), finding some some other hobby (10 per cent), or going so far as to cancel a TV subscription (four per cent).

As you might expect, however, binging is more popular with the youth than the elderly. According to Ofcom 53 per cent of kids aged 12-15 enjoy weekly binging sessions, compared to 16 per cent of over 65s. In the over 65s group 59 per cent said they actually prefer the one-episode-a-week system.

Obviously streaming and catch-up services have made binging much easier, and far cheaper than going out to buy a box set. But which services are the most popular? If you said Netflix, you'd be wrong. Ofcom found that BBC iPlayer came out on top, with 63 per cent of adults saying they use it. This was followed by iTV Hub (40 per cent), YouTube (38 per cent), Netflix (31 per cent), and recorded TV (28 per cent).

I'm not quite sure how Facebook is higher than Sky Go, but hey ho. Also where's Now TV? That's how most people watch Game of Thrones isn't it?

Ofcom has a lot more stats over on its website, for anyone who cares to read them, but for now we can all rest in the knowledge that we Brits love our TV - and we don't really like waiting for it.


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