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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.

Main issues

  • 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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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definitions
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Choosing those ‘water cooler’ moments
              • Save Kids’ TV
                • Something for adult learners, too
                • Market in Brief

                  • Plotting the TV landscape
                    • The recession is wide reaching
                      • What are consumers watching?
                        • Attitudes favour edutainment
                          • Thoughts on kids’ TV
                          • Internal Market Environment

                            • Key points
                              • Long TV sessions diminishing
                                • Figure 1: Time spent watching TV on an average weekday, 2004-08
                              • Digital Britain report
                                • TV equipment enjoys an upgrade
                                  • HDTV continues to grow
                                    • Nine in ten favour life-long learning
                                      • Figure 2: Agreement with lifestyle statements, 2004-08
                                  • Broader Market Environment

                                    • Key points
                                      • Consumer expenditure contracts as recession bites
                                        • Figure 3: Trends in personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, 2004-14
                                      • One in five finding it difficult
                                        • Figure 4: Current feelings about household income, 2007 and 2008
                                      • Spending cutbacks and intentions
                                        • Figure 5: spending cutbacks and intentions, May 2009
                                      • Growing audience for kids’ TV
                                        • Figure 6: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2004-14
                                      • Seven in ten now online
                                        • Figure 7: British internet penetration at home/work/place of study or elsewhere, by gender, age, socio-economic group, region and working status, 2004-09
                                    • Competitive Context

                                      • Key points
                                        • At-home leisure thriving
                                          • Figure 8: Consumer expenditure on selected leisure goods and activities, 2003-08
                                      • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                          • Edutainment
                                            • Strengths
                                              • Edutainment popular with consumers
                                                • Main PSB channels have increased their factual output
                                                  • Weaknesses
                                                    • Vulnerable to cutbacks
                                                      • May be considered dull
                                                        • Escapism
                                                          • Strengths
                                                            • Popular with women and younger generations
                                                              • A re-focusing on escapism from some broadcasters
                                                                • Weaknesses
                                                                  • Attitudes not as positive as might be expected
                                                                    • Move away from escapism in other markets
                                                                    • The TV Market

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Multichannel TV penetration continues to grow
                                                                          • Figure 9: UK multichannel TV households, by platform, 2004-09
                                                                        • Freeview the most popular platform on all sets
                                                                          • Figure 10: Take-up by platform in all TV homes, Q1 2009
                                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • BBC1 still the most popular channel
                                                                            • Figure 11: Monthly viewing summary, average weekly viewing per person, Jan-June 2008
                                                                            • Figure 12: Monthly viewing summary, average weekly viewing per person, July-Dec 08
                                                                            • Figure 13: Monthly viewing summary, average weekly viewing per person, Jan-Jun 2009
                                                                        • Companies and Brands

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Widespread programming cuts as industry comes under pressure
                                                                              • Major investors in programming
                                                                                • Figure 14: Five main channels’ programme spend, by broadcaster, 2004-08
                                                                              • The BBC
                                                                                  • Figure 15: BBC network television hours of output by genre, 2007/08 and 2008/09
                                                                                • ITV plc
                                                                                  • Channel 4
                                                                                  • Who Watches What and When?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Two thirds like to keep on top of news/current affairs
                                                                                        • Figure 16: Type of TV programming watched all the time, June 2009
                                                                                      • Younger generations just want a laugh
                                                                                        • Women like a bit of drama
                                                                                          • Soap operas are all or nothing
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Type of TV programming watched occasionally, June 2009
                                                                                          • Age and gender bias less apparent among occasional viewers
                                                                                            • Reality TV and soap operas biggest turn-offs
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Type of TV programming never watched, June 2009
                                                                                            • Gender and age bias reappear
                                                                                              • Younger viewers shy away from edutainment
                                                                                                • Figure 19: Escapism and edutainment, by age and gender, June 2009
                                                                                              • News/current affairs and documentaries/history go together
                                                                                                • Figure 20: Most popular type of TV programming watched all the time, by type of TV programming watched all the time, June 2009
                                                                                              • Quiz show viewers most enthusiastic
                                                                                                • Figure 21: Next most popular type of TV programming watched all the time, by type of TV programming watched all the time, June 2009
                                                                                            • Why do People Watch?

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Attitudes towards TV
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, June 2009
                                                                                                • Half of female respondents use TV to switch off
                                                                                                  • TV to help switch off and cheer up
                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Next most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched by attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Attitudes reflect viewing habits
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming watched all the time, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Next most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming watched all the time, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Occasional viewers less defined
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming watched occasionally, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Next most popular Attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming watched occasionally, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Attitudes also reflect what is never watched
                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming never watched, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Next most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by type of TV programming never watched, June 2009
                                                                                                • Parental Attitudes Towards Kids’ TV Viewing

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Watching edutainment encouraged by four in ten parents
                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Parental attitudes towards kids’ TV viewing, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Educational levels affect parental concern
                                                                                                      • Older children have greater freedom
                                                                                                        • Fewer TVs where advertising is limited
                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Most popular parental attitudes towards kids’ TV viewing, by parental attitudes towards kids’ TV viewing, June 2009
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Next most popular parental attitudes towards kids’ TV viewing, by parental attitudes towards kids’ TV viewing, June 2009
                                                                                                      • Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Target groups
                                                                                                            • Turn On, Tune Out (29% of internet users aged 16+ or 10.2 million adults)
                                                                                                              • The Engaged Audience (26% of internet users aged 16+ or 9.1 million adults)
                                                                                                                • Non-analytical Viewers (45% of internet users aged 16+ or 15.8 million adults)
                                                                                                                  • Lean back or lean forward?
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by target groups, June 2009
                                                                                                                  • News/current affairs top for all groups
                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Type of TV programming watched all the time, by target groups, June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Occasional viewing fairly similar
                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Type of TV programming watched occasionally, by target groups, June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Turn On, Tune Out have fewer turn-offs
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Type of TV programming never watched, by target groups, June 2009
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Internal Market Environment

                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Number of television sets, 2004-08
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Screen size, 2004-08
                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Screen type, 2006-08
                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Television features, 2004-08
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Who Watches What and When?

                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Most popular type of TV programming watched all the time, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Next most popular type of TV programming watched all the time by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Most popular type of TV programming watched occasionally, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Next most popular type of TV programming watched occasionally, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Most popular type of TV programming never watched, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Next most popular type of TV programming never watched, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Most popular type of TV programming watched occasionally, by type of TV programming watched occasionally, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Next most popular type of TV programming watched occasionally, by type of TV programming watched occasionally, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Most popular type of TV programming never watched, by type of TV programming never watched, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Next most popular type of TV programming never watched, by type of TV programming never watched, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Escapism and edutainment, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Why do People Watch?

                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Next most popular attitudes towards type of TV programming watched, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Parental Attitudes Towards Kids’ TV Viewing

                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Most popular attitudes towards children's TV viewing, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Next most popular attitudes towards kid's TV viewing, by demographic sub-group, June 2009
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Target groups, by demographic sub-group, June 2009

                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                • British Chamber of Commerce
                                                                                                                • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                • British Phonographic Industry Ltd (The) [BPI]
                                                                                                                • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                • British Video Association (BVA)
                                                                                                                • Broadcasters' Audience Research Board Limited
                                                                                                                • BT Group plc
                                                                                                                • Channel 4
                                                                                                                • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                • Department for Culture Media and Sport
                                                                                                                • Discovery Channel
                                                                                                                • ELSPA
                                                                                                                • Five
                                                                                                                • Freeview
                                                                                                                • Gfk NOP
                                                                                                                • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                • Independent Television Commission
                                                                                                                • Infosys Technologies Limited
                                                                                                                • ITV plc
                                                                                                                • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                • Manchester United PLC
                                                                                                                • Market & Opinion Research International (MORI)
                                                                                                                • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                • mmO2 plc
                                                                                                                • MTV Europe (UK)
                                                                                                                • National Geographic Society
                                                                                                                • Netto Foodstores Ltd
                                                                                                                • Nintendo UK Entertainment Ltd
                                                                                                                • NTL Europe, Inc.
                                                                                                                • Ofcom
                                                                                                                • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                • Orange plc (UK)
                                                                                                                • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                • The Society of London Theatre [SOLT]
                                                                                                                • Tiscali UK
                                                                                                                • Top Up TV
                                                                                                                • Union of European Football Association (UEFA)
                                                                                                                • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                • Waitrose
                                                                                                                • WightCable
                                                                                                                • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                • World Advertising Research Center

                                                                                                                Edutainment or Escapism? - UK - August 2009

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