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44% adults used Internet TV via STBS in the last 12 months: Ofcom

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MUMBAI: Close to 44 per cent (over four in ten) adults in the UK had used an internet connected TV - most via set-top boxes such as TiVo or Sky - in the last 12 months. Some 34 per cent had watched catch-up TV services via connected TVs or set-top boxes.

Moreover, Ofcom’s research into UK audience attitudes to content on TV and radio showed that households surveyed owned two TV sets on average.

This research covered what people find offensive on TV and radio, their awareness of and attitudes towards regulation and their understanding of advertising and product placement.

The report also includes research on consumers’ access to and views on internet ‘connected devices’, which are used to watch services like the BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, YouTube and Netflix.

The research further found that nearly half (49 per cent) of adult TV viewers felt the quality of TV programmes had stayed the same in the past year, three in ten (30 per cent) felt they had got worse, and around 16 per cent said TV had improved.

Among those who thought programmes had got worse, the top reasons were repeats (57 per cent), a lack of variety (43 per cent), a general lack of quality (32 per cent) and too many reality shows (30 per cent). Among those who said programmes had improved, the top reasons were a wider range of shows (50 per cent), improved quality (48 per cent), more entertaining shows (37 per cent) and better dramas (33 per cent).

Offensive material on TV

Close to 79 per cent people had not been offended by anything on TV in the past year. However, one in five had found something offensive, rising to a third (33 per cent) for people aged 65 and over. Those aged between 16 and 24 were least likely to be offended (nine per cent compared with 33 per cent of over 65s).

Of those who had been offended, bad language (44 per cent), violence (41 per cent) and sexual content (41 per cent) were the top concerns. Adults below 45 years old were more likely to say they had been offended by some type of discrimination (29 per cent compared with 19 per cent of over-45s).

On average, about half of all people thought current levels of sex (57 per cent), violence (47 per cent) and swearing (52 per cent) on TV were acceptable. Four in ten felt there was too much violence (43 per cent) and swearing (40 per cent), while nearly three in ten (28 per cent) said there was too much sex.

Attitudes differed by age: younger adults were more likely to feel there is an acceptable amount of violence, swearing and sex, while older adults tended to feel there is too much.

High awareness of regulation

The vast majority of adult TV viewers (90 per cent) knew about the 9 pm watershed, with over half (57 per cent) saying about 9 pm was the right time while around a quarter (27 per cent) said the watershed should be later.

The report found a clear understanding about what broadcast content is regulated, with over eight in ten (82 per cent) adults aware that TV is regulated. Most adults felt the current levels of TV and radio regulation were about right (61 per cent), or did not have an opinion (18 per cent for TV and 33 per cent for radio).

The research showed that 14 per cent of adult TV viewers could identify the ‘P’ symbol, which is designed to let viewers know the channel, or the programme-maker, has been paid to include products in that programme.

Protecting viewers

Ofcom has a duty to protect viewers from harmful and offensive material on TV and radio, as well as ‘TV like’ content on internet connected devices. When broadcasters break the rules, Ofcom takes robust enforcement action and has issued guidance to broadcasters on how they should enforce the watershed.

The majority of viewing today is live on the TV and many of the programmes delivered over the internet to connected devices in the UK were first aired on TV; because of this, they are subject to Ofcom’s rules.

However, people now watch programmes in a variety of ways, and on different devices, which poses challenges for parents and regulators. Hence, Ofcom is working with government, other regulators and industry to bring about a common framework for media standards.

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