Who has the most time-shifted TV show? Call on the Dr

Lara O’Reilly is Marketing Week’s digital and telecoms specialist and here she gives her views on what companies from Apple to Zynga are up to in the wired world of the web.

dr who

The TV industry is a world awash with acronyms and funny-looking short words – VOD, TiVo, SmartTV, Sky+, VOSDAL – that all point towards the fact that TV viewing is no longer just linear, it’s time shifted.

A fair amount of time-travelling took place last month, when a record number of Dr Who fans chose to record Easter Sunday’s episode and watch it later rather than live.

On what was an incredibly balmy day, 8.86 million viewers stayed in the shade and watched the Dr travel back in time to witness the 1969 moon landing.

But an incredible 4.11 million people opted to make the Dr travel through time in more ways than one and watch the programme later.

Dalia Gereis, commercial director of Kantar Media Audiences, the research company that compiled analysis from BARB data, says the figures show that a programme’s performance should not be judged on overnight figures alone.

The Beeb dominates the time-shifted viewing records. Apparently UK time-shifters would rather watch Phil sinking pints in the Vic than Norris stirring gossip at the Rover’s Return.

The save-now-watch-later audience also seems to prefer Matt Lucas and David Walliams to Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole.

People in the UK watch an average of 4 hours of linear TV each day, according to BARB, but due to the rise in internet connected TVs and online catch up services, the amount of people watching TV leave appears to be dropping.

With this in mind, it seems sensible for for the industry-trusted measurement companies provide rigorous analysis of time-shifted figures in their reports for a more representative overview of UK TV viewing.

ABC has realised it with online and mobile journalism and Nielsen has started reporting on online video, it is abouttime for TV measurement services to catch up.

The Top 10 Most Recorded TV Shows (Source: BARB)
(exclusive of data from online catch-up services)

  1. DOCTOR WHO BBC1, 23/04/2011 4.11m
  2. COME FLY WITH ME BBC1 25/12/2010 3.29m
  3. THE X FACTOR ITV1 02/10/2010 3.17m
  4. EASTENDERS BBC1 25/12/2010 2.7m
  5. BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT ITV1 01/05/2010 2.55m
  6. THE ROYLE FAMILY BBC1 25/12/2010 2.53m
  7. CORONATION STREET ITV1 10/12/2010 2.5m
  8. WAKING THE DEAD BBC1 03/04/2011 2.5m
  9. WALLACE AND GROMIT BBC1 25/12/2008 2.5m
  10. STRICTLY COME DANCING BBC1 11/12/2010 2.38m

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 customerservices@marketingweek.com

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