Children watch nearly 90% of TV live, finds TeleScope 2014

TeleScope 2014

Eighty-nine percent of children's TV viewing is still live, reveals a TV Licensing report.

Despite huge digital advances, 98% of children aged 4 to 15 still spend time in front of a traditional living room television set, rushing home from school because they fear missing their favourite programme.

Eight of the top ten children's programmes were shown on school days between 4.30 and 6.30pm. Disney Junior's Sofia the First and CBBC's Dumping Ground came out top for live children's programmes in their respective age groups.

The report also reveals that children spend an average of two hours and 23 minutes a day watching TV, an hour and a half less than the national average of three hours and 55 minutes (this is 15 minutes more than in 2008).

The headlines come from TeleScope 2014, TV Licensing's annual report into the nation's changing viewing habits, which this year focuses on children.

The march of technology

  • 22% of children aged 3-4 have a TV in their bedroom; 11% have a games console in their room; 1 in 8 use a tablet to go online
  • 1% of children 5-7 own a smartphone; 28% have a games console in their bedroom; 13% own a tablet
  • 18% of children 8-11 own a tablet; 53% have a TV in their bedroom; 53% have a games console in their room
  • 62% of children 12-15 have a smartphone; 62% have a TV in their bedroom; 26% own a tablet; 57% have a games console in their room

Pipa Doubtfire, head of revenue management at TV Licensing, says children's television continues to play 'a central role in households', adding that even though children have more devices and more ways in which to consume their favourite shows, 'the traditional TV set and live viewing are still overwhelmingly the most favoured methods'.

Live television

So why is live viewing still so popular in an age of tablets, PVRs, smartphones and video on-demand? According to Neil Mortensen, research planning director for Thinkbox, the answer is 'emotional'. In the report, Mortensen says, 'We identified six emotional reasons why we watch TV and knowing them explains why the live experience is so fundamental.

'The reasons are to unwind, for comfort, to connect, to experience, to escape, and to indulge. Live TV meets all of these needs brilliantly.'

The top live programme of 2013 was the New Year's Eve fireworks on BBC One, which was watched by 14 million people.

This was followed by I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here in second spot and Britain's Got Talent in third.

Blue Peter, 2004 Blue Peter was named one of the most popular kids' shows of all time by 2000 adults

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who attracted 10 million viewers and occupies the no. 4 spot for live viewing.

The top three most-requested programmes on iPlayer in 2013 (in order) were the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the Australian Open Men's Final and the Wimbledon Men's Final.

Tablet usage rises

But viewing through new devices is on the rise, according to statistics quoted in the report.

Tablets - which contributed to record-breaking iPlayer stats over Christmas - continue to increase in popularity, with 55% of owners using their device for viewing video content such as TV programmes.

In the home, tablet usage has tripled in only a year, with 42% of 5- to 15-year-olds using the devices in 2013, up from 14% in 2012.

Forty-five percent of children used the tablets to watch television on occasion; this is up 11% since 2012.

Not surprisingly, fewer children now have televisions in their bedrooms, with the percentage dropping from 59% in 2012 to 52% a year later.

TeleScope 2014 also included a survey of 2000 adults, who were asked what their favourite programmes were when they were children and why. Blue Peter was nominated across all age groups and was named as a favourite programme by one in ten people in the survey. Doctor Who was another which stood the test of time.

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