A survey by TV platform Freeview has proved once and for all that we’re a nation of telly addicts, finding that across their lifetime the average Briton will spend 8.8 years watching telly.
What’s more, we don’t just love watching shows, we love talking about them too.
Whether it’s gritty and gripping drama like Peaky Blinders, the high camp and humiliation of The X Factor or the gentle comfort of The Great British Bake Off, two thirds (66 per cent) of Britons say that television is their favourite topic of conversation. As a nation we spend an average of 15 minutes a day discussing the latest developments in our favourite comedies, dramas and soaps.
While viewers are desperate to talk about the latest plotlines and cliff-hangers they’re also keen to avoid any spoilers for shows they’ve missed. Half (51 per cent) said they avoided social media to make sure they didn’t find out details of a show that they didn’t see live.
The study also showed that, despite assumptions about the antisocial nature of television watching, most of us prefer to enjoy our favourite programmes in the company of friends and family. In fact, 75 per cent of those surveyed said they would rather watch television with someone else rather than on their own.
Media psychologist Honey Langcaster-James commented: “Watching TV has traditionally been considered to be an unsociable activity. However, this survey shows that TV remains an important part of our lives partly because it helps bond us together with friends and family.
“The research reveals that a large part of our enjoyment in watching TV is talking about it with others, but due to our busy lifestyles and the growing number of people living alone or working at odd times, this isn’t always possible.”
More than half of people said work or other demands on their time led to them missing programmes and 86 per cent said they used on-demand services to catch up on shows they didn’t see live.
The research was revealed as Freeview announced its own Catch Up Hotline. The service aims to provide a place for people to chat about their favourite show safe from spoilers, regardless of how far ahead or behind their friends and family they are.
Freeview’s, managing director, Guy North said: “With so many great shows out there at the moment we don’t want people not to be able to share their thoughts on their top TV just because they’re not watching it live. This dedicated hotline means they can chat at their leisure regardless of what episode they’re watching.”