New data reveals television habits

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The Independent Online

A new study published December 17 by UK communication regulator OFCOM has suggested that TV watching is on the rise in Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

Britain registered the highest year-on-year increase in viewing between 2007 and 2008, seven minutes more per day, but the US still watched more television than any other country surveyed, a whopping 277 minutes daily - over four and a half hours. Swedes watched the least television of the 11 countries surveyed, turning on for only 160 minutes a day.

Ofcom collated data from the national audience measurement systems of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US to compile the report, which shows that TV watching is also on the decline in some countries. France, Germany, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands all watched less TV in 2008 than they did in 2007.

On average, 37 percent of European television viewing was public service (state-funded) broadcasting, down one percentage point from 2007. In the US, however, public service broadcasting consumption halved from two percent, making up just one percent of programming watched. Canada's level stayed flat at 4 percent. The cost of a license was highest in Sweden, a reported €193, followed by Germany at €183 and the UK at €157. Canada, Spain, the US and the Netherlands do not charge a fee.

The study also analyzed radio habits, showing that Italians were the most prolific listeners in 2008, consuming some some 20.9 hours of radio per week. Interestingly, all of the European countries surveyed listened for a similar amount of time, around 20 hours, whilst the US and Canada listened to less, at 18.5 and 18.3 hours respectively. Japan listened to the least radio, tuning in for only 12.6 hours a week.

OFCOM provides regular market research updates as part of its legal mandate in the UK.