The UK has become a nation of binge viewers, Ofcom research reveals, with eight in ten adults now watching multiple episodes of their favourite shows in a single sitting.
The findings are part of Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report 2017, which reveals stark differences in how older and younger people watch television.
Eight in ten adults in the UK (79%) – or 40 million people – use catch-up technology such as BBC iPlayer, or subscription services such as Netflix, to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting, wiping out the wait for next week’s instalment.
One third (35%) do so every week, and more than half (55%) do it monthly.
Bingeing is most popular among young people: more than half (53%) of those aged 12-15 enjoy weekly watch-a-thons, compared to just 16% of over-65s. For that older age group, more than half (59%) prefer a traditional release of one episode per week.
The trend has been driven, in part, by the availability of faster home internet speeds, a rise in the number of connected TVs, and increased take-up of smartphones and tablets.
More than seven in ten (76%) young people aged 16-24 use a subscription streaming service, compared to less than two in ten (19%) older people aged 65 and over.
However, BBC iPlayer is the most popular on-demand service with 63% of adults saying they use it, followed by ITV Hub at 40% and then YouTube at 38% and Netflix at 31%.