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More people watching TV thanks to smartphones and tablets

Smartphone and tablet adoption is fuelling resurgence in TV viewing among UK residents that is being dubbed the ‘reinvention of the 1950s living room’.

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2013 shows that 91 per cent of adults tune into the main TV set in the living room at least once a week, which is up from 88 per cent in 2002. Over half of them, 53 per cent to be precise, do so whilst using another device such as a smartphone or tablet.

“Our research shows that increasingly families are gathering in the living room to watch TV just as they were in the 1950s – but now delivered on bigger, wider and more sophisticated sets. Unlike the 1950s family, however, they are also doing their own thing. They are tweeting about a TV show, surfing the net or watching different content altogether on a tablet,” said James Thickett, Ofcom director of research.

Most of the activity takes place on smartphones with 51 per cent owning them – double the 27 per cent two years ago. Tablets are the other medium that is used with 24 per cent of households now owning one – almost double the 11 per cent of last year.

The increasing influence of Internet on the home is also shown by the fact that an average household now owns over three types of Internet enabled devices, and one in five own six or more.

“Just a few years ago, we would be talking about last night’s TV at work or at school. Now, we’re having those conversations live while watching TV – using social media, text and instant messaging,” Thickett explained.

Another key trend is known as ‘media meshing’, which involves doing something on a device that is directly related to the program being watched. 25 per cent do this already, with the impact of this new trend seen during the 2013 Wimbledon Men’s tennis final when over 80 per cent of tweets related to the match came from mobile devices.

Photo credit: Flickr (Bill Glover UK)