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Brits are turning to comedy to beat the COVID-19 blues. It has become the second-most watched TV genre, behind drama, new data shows.
Comedy viewing has increased by 26% since last year, according to Attest’s annual media consumption report. Nearly 55% of people are tuning into comedy during the lockdown (compared with 43% in 2019).
The figures also show a significant increase in people watching the news (from 34% to 54%), which could be fuelling the desire for light relief.
TV viewing, in general, has seen a huge boost since coronavirus restrictions confined Brits to their homes. Binge-watching of on-demand TV content has leapt by a whopping 71%, with nearly 30% of people watching five or more hours per day (versus just over 17% in 2019.)
Younger people are 44% more likely to watch large quantities of streamed telly than older people; 35% of people aged 18-40 are watching 5+ hours a day versus 24.3% of those aged 41-65.
But older people are nearly 20% more likely to watch large quantities of live terrestrial TV; 38.5% of people aged 41-65 say they’re watching more than five hours, versus 32.1% of people aged 18-40.
With more time to watch TV, more Brits have signed up to streaming platforms than last year. Netflix, which was already the nation’s most popular provider, has seen a 17% increase in UK users. Now, a massive 68% of Brits are subscribed to the streaming platform (compared with 58% in 2019).
Recently-launched Disney Plus has already clocked up a 22% share of the market. And it’s proving to be a big hit with women aged 18-40 (whether they’re signing up for their kids or simply because they love Disney themselves).
Britbox, the new subscription streaming service launched by the BBC and ITV, has so far attracted 7% of Brits (helped by a free 30-day trial). Meanwhile, Plex, which launched in December offering free content from major Hollywood studios like MGM, Lionsgate and Warner Bros., was only used by 4% of people.
Bored Brits have also been whiling away the hours on social media. Nearly half of people (47%) are watching at least an hour of YouTube per day (that’s an increase of 27% on last year).
Meanwhile, 48% of Brits are checking Facebook at least every few hours, if not more frequently. The younger generation is also all over Instagram; 46% of 18-40 year olds say they’re scrolling Insta throughout the day.
And if you’ve started hearing a lot about TikTok, expect to hear a lot more. The short form video-sharing app has been breaking download records during the lockdown and nearly 21% of Brits aged 18-40 say they’re visiting the platform multiple times a day. This puts it hot on the heels of Snapchat.
Find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers’ watching, listening, reading and scrolling habits.
Senior Content Writer
Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 125 million global consumers. She also likes cake.
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