TV viewing up thanks to World Cup

Television viewing increased by more than two hours per person in the first-half of the year, partly driven by World Cup-related programming and an updated TV measurement system.

England vs Slovenia
England vs Slovenia

People in the UK watched an average of 28 hours and 15 minutes of linear, broadcast TV a week during January to June of 2010, according to the data released by TV industry marketing body Thinkbox.

TV viewing of commercial channels accounted for 62% of total viewing in the first half of 2010 (source BARB). The average viewer watched 17 hours, 26 minutes of commercial TV a week during the first half of the year, up by 48 minutes on the same period last year.

The increase in commercial viewing has been accompanied by an increase in the number of TV ads viewed. Commercial impacts (the number of ads watched at normal speed) during January to June were up 4.1% on the same period last year, and have grown by 20.6% over the last five years to a new record high.

The average viewer watched 45 ads a day during the first half of the year compared to 43 ads on the same period last year.

According to Nielsen, over £1.9 billion was spent on TV advertising during the first half of 2010, up 19% on the same period last year.

Alongside viewing of the World Cup, the jump in time spent in front of the TV is attributed to greater choice helped by the switch to digital and the updated TV measurement system, launched in January, which more accurately captures viewing of second TV sets and on-demand TV.

Other factors include the economic downturn and new TV technologies, such as digital TV recorders and on-demand TV services. Thinkbox says on-demand TV services are increasingly used by viewers to catch or keep-up with broadcast schedules.

According to the IPA’s Touchpoints 3 research, 42% of UK adults have watched TV online and watch for an average of 15 minutes a day. Younger people (16-24s) watch slightly more online TV: approximately 20 minutes per day on average.

Tess Alps, Thinkbox’s chief executive, says: “These figures look remarkable at first glance, but they are explained in part by the fact that BARB is more accurately capturing the amount of TV being watched. We know that technology is also making TV ever more attractive and we should never underestimate the fundamental importance of compelling content.”

The three terrestrial broadcasters have all undergone management shake-ups this year with Adam Crozier taking the chief executive role at ITV and David Abraham the same role at Channel 4. Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell company bought Channel 5 last week.

All the TV companies are looking to increase their digital revenues and lessen reliance on traditional advertising revenues.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here