Belfast Telegraph

Traditional TV viewing predicted to beat catch-up on Christmas Day

Viewers will be tuning in live for Doctor Who and the Strictly festive special.

Traditional TV viewing is more popular than watching via catch-up on Christmas Day, according to new research.

Scheduled viewing has lost ground to on-demand services and binge viewing in recent years.

But a poll has found that 62% of people prefer to watch scheduled, “live” TV at Christmas – which this year includes the Strictly festive special, French and Saunders and Doctor Who on December 25 – as opposed to on demand (13%).

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Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (Matt Holyoak/BBC)

And half (50%) said they could not live without their TV on Christmas Day, double the number who said they’d be lost without their smartphone (25%).

The research comes after the BBC put a wide range of shows on its iPlayer over Christmas, from Blue Planet and Wolf Hall to EastEnders, to compete with Netflix and Amazon.

The poll, for RadioTimes.com, also found that almost two thirds (60%) say that Christmas TV is worse now than when they were children, while 75% said there are more repeats than in previous years.

Almost half (44%) said that they do not watch the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day and 15% revealed they had never seen the annual royal message.

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Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders (Michael Crabtree/PA)

More than four-fifths (85%) watch TV as a family on Christmas Day and 77% do not watch any religious programming on the day.

Almost a third (30%) keep the TV on during Christmas dinner and almost half (47%) admit to falling asleep in front of the small-screen.

The poll of 16,000 respondents found that around 41% watch five hours or more of TV on Christmas Day.

RadioTimes.com editor Tim Glanfield said: “The results of our survey show that despite the popularity of digital devices and streaming services every other day of the year, Christmas Day remains one of the few days when the whole family still gathers around the television to watch live TV.

“And its popularity doesn’t seem to be diminishing – only 2% of people says that don’t watch any TV on Christmas day and a staggering 17% watch more than seven hours, small wonder that nearly half of them also fall asleep in front of the box!”

The poll was conducted by RadioTimes.com.

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