Global TV viewing, except Asia, rises marginally in 2004

CANNES: Average daily television viewing time increased on all continents during 2004, with the exception of Asia, according to Eurodata Worldwide data released on Monday at the ongoing MIPTV. The Asia Pacific figures are the only ones that show a decline of three minutes in average viewing time, as the universe of India increased from six cities in 2003 to 26 cities in 2004.

Discounting the Asian stats, average TV consumption worldwide remained stable over the earlier year, with three hours and seven minutes of daily viewing time per person in 2004. Mediametrie international director Jacques Brown said viewing time is still rising in North America, up three minutes this year.

On an average, an American spends four hours and 28 minutes in front of the small screen, 86 minutes more than the worldwide average. Western Europe too spent four more minutes every day in front of the telly in 2004, while TV consumption increased slightly in Latin America, recording a viewing time of three hours and 16 minutes. Since the sharp rise recorded in 2000, the viewing time in South Africa increased even further in 2004, reaching three hours and nine minutes every day.

Reality takes beating, fiction surges

Fiction took centrestage in 2004 with 325 programmes in this genre making the various top 10s, as against 249 in the entertainment genre, that includes the reality formats. Fiction accounts for over 46 per cent of the programmes in the top 10. Of the 36 per cent of entertainment programming preferred by viewers, only nine per cent belongs to the reality genre.

Pioneering reality TV formats like Big Brother and Idols however are still among the most popular programmes. Says Brown, "Reality TV is a real cultural phenomenon and its tricks can now be seen moving into almost every other form in the medium."

Celebrities involvement is one factor that seems to be helping the success of the reality genre. Shows like Celebrity Big Brother and Survivor All Stars as well as the De Pfaffs programme, inspired by The Osbournes format, have been a hit in several countries.

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