Belfast Telegraph

Big screens and live children's shows - Northern Ireland's TV habits revealed

Northern Ireland people watch more TV on big screens than the rest of the UK, coming top in a report on the nation's changing telly habits.

Most of our viewing is done on screens that average more than 36 inches.

And we like to recreate the cinema experience at home with 10 per cent of people in Northern Ireland watching most of their TV on a screen bigger than 50 inches - significantly more than the the UK average of 3 per cent.

The research, carried out by TV Licensing, also reveals that Northern Ireland children spend less time watching TV than kids across the water. Ulster kids spend two hours 23 minutes a day watching the television - an hour and a half less than the national average of three hours 55 minutes.

And they still rush home from school to make sure they catch their favourite television programmes as they are televised.

Children today are dubbed ‘Generation i’ by some because of the proliferation of different ways to watch TV and other digital gadgets to keep them entertained.

But despite having so much tech at their fingertips, an astonishing 89 per cent of children’s viewing time is still devoted to live TV programming.

Colin Williams, Creative Director at Sixteen South, a Belfast-based production company which makes shows such as Sesame Tree, Big & Small and Big City Park for CBeebies and which is about to launch Driftwood Bay on Nickelodeon, said the findings reflected the emotional attachment we have with children’s TV.

He said: "The programmes we watch as kids play a major role in our development and form positive memories which last a lifetime.

"How children’s TV shows are made may have changed dramatically down the years, but their importance to daily family life remains as strong ever.”

TV Licensing’s TeleScope 2014 report also outlines family research results, provides a ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ and reveals top types of children’s TV across the years.

Similarly to the results for the UK as a whole, Blue Peter was the most popular choice amongst adults from Northern Ireland when asked what their favourite TV shows were as a child, while Bill and Ben also proved popular amongst local respondents.

Mark Sterling, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: "Children’s TV – as well as wider family entertainment programming - continues to play a central role in households. The families we spoke to during our research for TeleScope 2014 had a wide variety of viewing habits, but all found TV programmes had the ability to bring the family together."

TeleScope is an annual TV industry report produced by TV Licensing.  It looks at the UK’s television viewing habits – identifying how we’re responding to new technologies and how our habits are changing. Insights from the past 12 months include:

  • We still prefer watching live:  We watch around of 4 hours of TV a day, with 90 per cent of all viewing being live.  In 2013, fewer than two per cent of us watched only time-shifted TV.
  • Time travel and craft are favourites across the years: We asked more than 2,000 adults what their favourite programmes were when they were children and why.  Perennial favourites Blue Peter and Doctor Who were two programmes which have stood the test of time.
  • TVs are bigger:  The trend towards buying bigger screens continues, with seven in ten sets sold classified as ‘big’ (between 26” – 32”) and jumbo screens (43” plus) now accounting for nearly 16 per cent of sales.
  • Tablet TV: Just over 55 per cent of tablet owners use their device for viewing video content such as TV programmes. 

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