Research was released recently showed that UK viewers watch an average of 3 hours, 41 minutes of TV a day on a traditional TV. That's a lot of telly, especially given that viewing behaviours have changed so much in recent years.
Ten years ago, top analyst at Forrester Research, Josh Bernoff, said "The future [of TV viewing] is about whatever I want, wherever and whenever I want it". It's now easy to watch whatever you want whenever you want, be it live, via playback, or on demand - and we really are. TV industry analysts BARB record that Amazon Prime Instant Video has more than 1.2million UK subscribers, Netflix has more than 3 million - that's one household in ten - and Sky has more than 10 million viewers.
Although viewing behaviours are changing, we still love a great show - and what an impressive range of superb content we have to choose from. These days, UK goggleboxers are not just vegging out on the sofa in front of whatever's on, but actively choosing to watch a great drama like Broadchurch, catch up on Homeland or check out The Musketeers. I think that the big difference now is that people are sitting down to watch a beloved show with real purpose (and often watching rather too much in one go!) It's active event-driven TV rather than a passive always on TV without purpose.
Apparently, 75 percent of TV viewers admit to binge-watching TV - I'm not afraid to say that I have watched far too many episodes of 24 in one go (although not quite 24!). It's not at all surprising that people prefer this season-at-a-time approach, as it puts the control in the hands of the viewer. Each person can decide how they want to watch, whether they watch numerous episodes at a time or take a slower approach and spread each season out. This has changed the format and tempo of many shows, such as Netflix exclusives like Orange is the New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which are created with 'box set' viewing in mind - long gone is the tactical mid-season cliff-hanger now you can just hit 'watch next episode'.
With 86 percent of all viewing taking place in the living room, it's clear that more and more of us are settling down to watch with family and friends - you could call it a resurgence of traditional TV. The production value of shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards does not disappoint. We're seeing more and more heralded theatre actors in TV shows, like Kevin Spacey and Martin Freeman. Also, many shows are at now least 60 minutes long, with lots stretching into a full 90 minute feature. As the programming seems to get bigger and better, so do the TV sets - last year, TVs measuring 50 inches and larger made up 30% of the total market in terms of value (source: GfK). We expect over half of the TVs sold this year (in terms of value) to be at least that big, so now we can all enjoy near cinema-quality viewing from the comfort of our own home.
I personally love a bit of me-time with a really good movie, but I tend to watch on demand as it's so hard to catch a film while it's in the cinema. I like to watch at a time that suits me, which can sometimes be a bit antisocial - it can be difficult to pinch a couple of hours to watch something in between being a Dad and an MD. So, it is really valuable to be able to choose exactly what I want to watch, to suit my mood. After a full on day it's great to unwind with a top comedy, or watch a must-watch Oscar winner if I want to be challenged. The point is that you can home in to watch the right show for you. Of course, there are lots of great recommendation engines out there that learn what you love so that amazing content can be suggested especially for you, and content on your terms is a powerful thing.
If you want some tips of the best shows to add to your 'must watch' binge-list, I'd recommend some of these.