TV statistics: How long does the UK spend watching TV?

We look at the latest TV viewing statistics in the UK.

More than 27 million homes in the UK have a television and 19.3 million homes subscribe to some form of streaming service – but just how long are we spending in front of the TV every day? We analysed all the latest TV statistics to see how glued we are to our screens and how many people are using their bank accounts to pay for a TV licence.

Quick overview

  • 27.3 million households had a TV in 2022, almost 97% of households in the UK.
  • On average, Brits watch 28 hours and 18 minutes of TV and streaming content each week (just over 4 hours a day).
  • This includes 18 hours and 16 minutes of broadcast TV each week (2 hours and 36 minutes a day).
  • As of March 2023, 24.4 million TV licenses were in issue.
  • As of September 2023, 19.3 million households (67.3%) have a subscription service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now.
  • BBC channels are the most popular in the UK, with 51.9 million viewers reached in October 2023.
  • An average of 58 million Brits have tuned into broadcast TV every month in the year to October 2023.

How many households have a TV?

27.3 million households in the UK had a TV in 2022, which is almost 97% of households in the UK. This is up slightly (0.4%) from 2021, when 27.2 million households had a TV. The number of households with a TV has been increasing year-on-year, suggesting that, despite the popularity of smartphones and tablets, people still like viewing on a television screen.

Year UK households with a TV
2016 26.7 million
2017 26.7 million
2018 26.8 million
2019 26.9 million
2020 27 million
2021 27.2 million
2022 27.3 million

How many people watch TV in the UK?

On average, 58 million viewers tune into broadcast TV each month, which is around 91% of all people with access to a TV or broadband.

In October 2023, 58 million people tuned into broadcast TV, 91% of the total viewing audience. This is down slightly year-on-year from October 2022, when 58.6 million people, or 92%, tuned in for some viewing.

The way we watch television has changed, however, and 19.3 million households (67.3%) have access to a streaming subscription service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime as of September 2023. This is down slightly from the same period in 2022, when 19.5 million households were subscribed to a video-on-demand service. This may be due to people cutting costs and the increasing prices of subscriptions.

How much TV does the average Brit watch?

Taking into account all formats, the average Brit spends just over 4 hours a day, or 28 hours and 18 minutes a week, watching TV and video content. This includes 2 hours and 36 minutes a day of broadcast television, or 18 hours and 16 minutes a week.

Viewing habits vary slightly from month to month, with peak viewing times around Christmas and the winter months and lower viewing times in summer when the weather is better.

Month Average daily minutes viewed
Nov 22 253
Dec 22 266
Jan 23 258
Feb 23 250
Mar 23 245
Apr 23 240
May 23 228
Jun 23 220
Jul 23 240
Aug 23 238
Sep 23 226
Oct 23 247

The BBC has the most popular channels in the UK, with 51.9 million viewers in October 2023. ITV comes in second place, with 46.4 viewers in total but is closely followed by Channel 4, with 45.9 million viewers.

Sky channels had a total of 37.8 million viewers in October 2023, while Channel 5 had a total of 35.6 million viewers.

Broadcaster Number of viewers
BBC 51.9
ITV 46.4
Channel 4 45.9
Sky 37.8
Channel 5 35.6

How many people have a TV licence in the UK?

As of March 2023, 24.4 million TV licences are in issue in the UK. Each license is priced at £159, apart from cases where these are funded or at a reduced fee. In the year to March 2023, £3.7 billion was generated by the TV licence fee.

Sources used

  • ONS
  • BARB
  • TV Licensing
  • IVF

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

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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