Reality Check: Just Six Percent Of TV Viewing Is Non-Linear


Most television viewers still just sit in front of the box and watch linear shows, according to Ofcom’s public service broadcasting annual report.

Time-shifting has grown in recent years, but this seems a bit under-used, given how 6.4 million UK households have Sky+ DVR boxes.

Nearly two thirds of people say they engage in some kind of non-linear viewing – but, actual time-shifted viewing minutes for the five main public service TV channels remains small.

This is what the connected-TV venture Project Canvas is setting out to change, offering catch-up TV direct to the living room.


Ian Breen

The elephant in the room is the fact that British TV is, on the whole, of very poor quality. Getting revenue from VOD from it will prove difficult.. People leave their tv’s on mostly.. for company.

VOD wants them to pay when they have a massive choice of things online… is that going to work?


Surprisingly low figures. I wonder if there’s anything in Barb’s measurement approach that would understate non-linear viewing

David – the 5 PSB channels still account for over half viewing so these figures if they are accurate capture half the picture. Assume non-linear viewing on other channels is higher

David Blanar

Subscription services like Sky and Virgin have hundreds of channels. How can we draw any conclusions about viewing habits using such a small sample of channels?

For example, someone like me skews the numbers: I rarely watch programming on the main channels, and when I do it’s BBC news which, yes, I watch live.

I would feel very uncomfortable making any claims about broad viewing patterns without better, wider data footprints.

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