Brits on average watched 11 hours more TV a week than they did before lockdown

Having suddenly found ourselves confined to our homes amidst a nationwide lockdown, it was inevitable that many would seek solace in TV. What else were we supposed to do, after all?

With another lockdown looming, Currys PC World take a look at how the previous lockdown impacted our TV habits.

  • The average Brit watched 3,270 minutes of TV during lockdown
  • One in five Brits said they watched more comedy than usual over lockdown
  • 1 in 5 Brits describe TV as a form of escapism
  • The Prime Minister’s statement about “a conditional plan” for easing lockdown attracted 27.5 million viewers across Britain

During the peak lockdown period (April), the British public watched 34 minutes more live broadcast TV and 37 minutes more of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) content a day than they did at the same time the year before.

As lockdown measures eased, broadcast TV viewing did dip slightly, but by the end of June it was still 11% higher than in the same week in 2019. This broke an otherwise downward trend in the amount of live TV consumed by the average Brit in recent years.

And it wasn’t just the amount of TV that changed in lockdown. The time of day people watch TV was impacted too. During lockdown, Brits have confessed to being more likely to watch TV in the middle of the afternoon (8% more than pre-lockdown) and more likely to watch TV late into the night (4% more than pre-lockdown). That’s what happens when a series is so gripping!



Lockdown certainly had an impact on the amount of TV we watched, but how about the type of TV we watched? Did worrying times have us seeking solace in comedy? Or, did cancelled holidays have us living vicariously through the travel channels?

The answers to these queries are yes and kind-of-yes. One in five Brits said they watched more comedy than usual over lockdown, while only 5% report watching more travel content. Perhaps it feels a little bit too much like rubbing salt in the wounds to imagine what could have been…

What genre did Brits watch more of during lockdown?

During the Covid lockdown, advertisers pulled more than £1.1bn in ad spend. Despite lockdown encouraging people to watch more TV, businesses were responding to uncertain times with budget cuts and ad freezes. The future of TV advertising is unclear, but there’s good reason to believe it will find its feet again – just perhaps in new formats. With people watching TV on various different devices, it’s created opportunities for much more interactive advertising experiences online, as opposed to traditional TV video.



With so much viewing going on, who are we watching it with? Well, for one in five Brits, the answer is no one. They prefer to keep TV a solo activity. For the majority, however, TV time is time spent with a partner (42%) or family (22%). This said, 6% less Brits describe watching TV as “family time” now than 10 years ago, and 5% more women than men watch TV with the kids.