Edutainment or Escapism? - UK - August 2009
TV viewing is one area that has prospered during the recession, as consumers abandon more expensive out-of-home entertainment in favour of a night in front of ‘the box’. BARB data show that average daily television viewing increased by 3% in 2008, to 3 hours and 45 minutes per head – the highest level since 2003. Not only do consumers have more to watch than ever – with use of multichannel TV, video on demand and TV online continuing to rise – but they have increasingly larger and sophisticated home equipment, such as widescreen and HD-ready TVs, to watch it on.
Despite this, however, the TV landscape is tougher than ever. Multichannel TV and online services mean increased investment by operators and greater fragmentation of the audience, while TV advertising revenue fell by 5% in 2008, hitting many commercial broadcasters. Programming is one major area where costs have been cut and, between 2004 and 2008, the five main public service broadcasting channels reduced expenditure on all network programming by 10% (down to £2,799 million). In this low-risk environment, first-run originated output fell by almost 15% in 2008, with UK first-run originated hours of children’s programmes hit even harder, down 51% in the last five years.
But what type of programming do consumers really want and, in the recession, are they turning to Edutainment or Escapism? This report provides a snapshot of the TV industry in these challenging times and examines consumers’ viewing habits. It also documents their attitudes towards TV genres, with additional research into the views of parents, given the current crisis in children’s programming.
What is the most popular genre with UK TV viewers?
Has the current recession made escapism more attractive or are consumers looking for facts to guide them though the crisis?
What role does HDTV play and does the format favour one or the other?
How are the main broadcasters adjusting their programming costs in light of the economic crisis and which formats are suffering?
Do parents want edutainment for their children and are they anxious about the quality of kids’ TV?
Are people using the internet for information and the TV for escapism?
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