Almost half of Britons watch mostly time-shifted TV

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Technology has really changed how people watch television.

About a fifth of all TV viewing is now time-shifted – either from the DVR or via video-on-demand, Virgin Media found in a study based on data from more than 2.3 million set-top boxes.

And, according to the research, almost half (43 per cent) of people mostly watch time-shifted TV, with 20 per cent tuning in to live TV only for must-see moments such as sports events. Just 30 per cent predominantly watch live TV.

Time-shifting means that a TV show is either recorded onto the hard drive of a set-top box or else watched on demand. Virgin Media says that its customers watch more than one billion programmes on demand each year.

Growth in the popularity of time-shifted TV has been driven by a boom in series stacking and the availability of entire series of a programme on demand, allowing people to watch multiple episodes of a series back-to-back.

One in 10 Virgin customers says they dedicate all their viewing time to a single series at a time, with 40 per cent switching between different series depending on their mood.

Data from Virgin Media also shows that recorded TV series and one-off shows are typically watched within 14 days after having been broadcast, while movies are often kept for longer and tend to be enjoyed on a weekend.

Stuart O’Connor