BARB figures show TV ad viewings at a record high

Tess%20AlpsA record 2.4 billion ads were watched on television every day in 2008 in the UK, according to new research by the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board.

The figure means that an average of 42 ads were seen per person every day, and it is up by 6.3% from 2.25 billion in 2007. The rise comes despite an increase in the number of people watching catch-up TV through digital TV recorders and broadband services such as the BBC iPlayer.

The report shows that overall broadcast TV viewing in 2008 was up nearly an hour a week on 2007, with the average person in the UK watching 26 hours, 18 minutes a week, matching the high viewing figures seen in 2003.

Commercial TV marketing body Thinkbox says the increase, seen across all age groups, has been driven by commercial TV channels, which now account for 63% of all broadcast TV viewing.

Thinkbox chief executive Tess Alps says the figures are “great news” for advertisers. She adds: “TV remains people’s favourite form of entertainment, whatever technology delivers it.”

The marketing body says the increase in commercial impacts is “all the more significant given the fact that 2008 was a watershed year for on-demand TV viewing”. At present, on-demand viewing is not measured by BARB.

Thinkbox says the fact that broadcast TV viewing is growing simultaneously with online TV demonstrates that viewers are watching them for different reasons. It points to the rapid take-up of digital TV, bad weather and the economic downturn – which has encouraged people to stay in – as being key factors in the growth of linear TV last year.

The positive research comes ahead of the Government’s Digital Britain report, which is expected to be published this week. The report was commissioned by communications minister Lord Carter, a former Ofcom chief executive.

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