Missing social events to watch TV shows

Nearly a quarter of Brits have skipped a social event to watch their favourite TV show.


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Most Brits can access catch-up TV and internet TV streaming services, but are we still choosing to stay in and watch our favourite shows rather than go out? We investigated to find out how many of us prefer Friends over friends.

Our research found that nearly a quarter of us (23%) have bailed on events – from weddings to meals out – to avoid missing a favourite TV show. A night out on the town with friends is the most common social event to be skipped, with a third (35%) of those who’d skip an event saying they’d ditch this type. Unsurprisingly, weddings are considered a much more important social occasion, so only 9% said they have bailed on this type of event.

Choice Percentage
A meal out 25%
Birthday event 20%
Night out 35%
Wedding 9%
Work event 25%
A date 14%
Team sport 13%
Gym 22%
Ticketed event 10%
Social/club event 26%

Men vs women

Our research found that men are more likely to skip events to socialise with a screen instead; over a quarter of men (26%) admit to saying no to friends and relatives to catch the latest episode of a show, vs just one fifth of women (21%) who would prioritise TV over friends.
Female Male
A meal out 5.9% 5.8%
Birthday event 3.6% 5.6%
Night out 7.8% 8.4%
Wedding 1.9% 2.6%
Work event 4.1% 7.8%
A date 2.8% 3.7%
A team game or team training session 2.2% 4.0%
Gym 4.4% 5.9%
Ticketed event (theatre/gig/cinema/sports game) 2.0% 2.6%
Social event or club meeting 6.8% 5.5%

Different generations

Younger generations are far more likely to choose TV over social events than older people; 36% of those aged 18-38 have done this at least once. If you want to be sure you have company, your best bet is to invite a friend born between 1928 and 1964 – they are least likely to say no to hanging out as only 5% would turn you down for TV.
Silent (Born 1928-1945) Boomers (Born 1946-1964) Generation X (Born 1965-1980) Millennials (Born 1981-1996) Postmillennial/Generation Z (Born after 1996)
A meal out 1.2% 3.2% 6.3% 8.8% 10.2%
Birthday event 0.0% 2.4% 4.8% 6.6% 12.2%
Night out 0.0% 4.6% 7.4% 13.1% 15.3%
Wedding 0.0% 0.7% 3.5% 3.4% 1.0%
Work event 0.0% 3.3% 6.6% 9.5% 5.1%
A date 0.0% 1.1% 3.7% 5.9% 4.1%
A team game or team training session 0.0% 0.8% 3.5% 5.0% 8.2%
Gym 0.0% 1.4% 5.4% 9.0% 14.3%
Ticketed event (theatre/gig/cinema/sports game) 0.0% 0.8% 2.2% 4.3% 3.1%
Social event or club meeting 0.0% 2.4% 5.9% 9.5% 21.4%

Regional differences

39% of people in the North East of England have cancelled their plans at least once to keep up with the latest episode of a show, making this the region that prefers to stay in the most. The second most likely region to skip social events is London, where 31% have said no to meeting up in favour of TV. Residents from East Anglia stay true to their friends, with only 13% bailing on their plans, which makes this the region that is least likely to ditch you for TV.
Region Percentage
East of England 13%
East Midlands 15%
London 31%
North East 39%
North West 24%
Northern Ireland 29%
Scotland 24%
South East 23%
South West 21%
Wales 15%
West Midlands 26%
Yorshire and the Humber 23%


Finder.com commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of 2,000 adults aged 18+.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
M: +44 747 921 7816
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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