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Summer on the Sofa Report

Posted June 7, 2012 - Features

The results of our new report reveal how the nation will be uniting in front of the TV for an epic summer of sport

  • Over 34m Brits (1) will be watching sport on TV
  • Watching sport this summer in High Definition (HD) is chosen as most important  by 30% of people , 3D was chosen by 1%
  • The majority of TV viewing will take place in the living room, with TV viewers choosing to watch with their partner (57%), family (40%) or friends (24%)

Our Summer on the Sofa Report shows how the humble TV will play a central role in people’s lives this summer, helping connect families and friends throughout the sporting action in 2012.

TV triumphs over smart devices

Despite the growth of smartphones and tablets, we will be reaching for the remote control to watch sport. Over 34m of us (72%) will be watching this summer’s sporting events on TV. Approximately one in eight of us will watch some of the action on a laptop (14%) and one in ten on a desktop computer (10%). Only one in twenty (5%) will at some point watch the summer’s sporting content on a tablet, with 7% intending to view on a smartphone.

Despite more than 1 million 3D enabled or full 3D TVs sold in this country3 by far the most important for people planning to watch the Olympic Games this summer is high definition (HD) which was the top choice for 30% of those surveyed.  Catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer rated second most popular at 16%, with PVRs or DTR (personal video recorder / digital television recorder) third with 9%. Only 1% chose 3D and 1% chose smart TVs (televisions connected to the internet).

Better Together, Better Bigger

The research confirms the nation’s desire to watch the big sporting events together with over half (57%) of viewers tuning in to watch the action with their partner and a quarter (25%) will be watching with friends.  Less than one in eight of viewers are planning to watch alone (12%).

The research suggests that the average viewer will be watching the Olympic Games on 35” TV, an average increase of over 4” since the Beijing Games in 2008, where the average screen size was just less than 31”. Nearly a quarter of the nation (23%) will be watching London 2012 on a TV 42” or bigger compared to only 8% for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Daily TV fix of sport

TV viewing will be dominated by sports content over the summer.  According to research by YouGov, the average person in Britain will be watching 100 minutes of sport a day on TV this summer.  That’s 37% of the average length of time (4.0 hours)4 that’s considered each of us spend watching television every day.

Olympic TV viewers are planning to watch an average of 97 minutes of TV coverage every day during London 2012.   For a 17 day event, this means the average viewer expects to watch 27.5 hours of the London 2012 Games.

The average Brit plans to watch 17% (5 out of a total of 31 matches) of all Euro 2012 football matches. Those viewers planning to watch at least one game of Euro 2012 expect to see an average of 11 games each (35% of matches). A diehard 6% of those planning to watch the Euro 2012 Championships say they will watch all 31 matches.

Social TV: a game changer for sport

Of those watching live sport on TV this summer, over one in four (26%) of those surveyed expect to share their sports viewing experiences online and this rises to 45% for the 25-34 age group. Just over a fifth (21%) of those online will share and discuss the major sporting events via Facebook, with women (23%) more likely than men (19%) to use this social media channel.

The average British adult plans to tweet four times about the Olympics, whilst watching the games, over 180m tweets expected in total.

The research indicates that over 8million Brits5 are likely to go online to share their experiences of watching sports, whilst viewing the action live on TV.  And social media will be driving ‘appointment to view’ – 10% of Brits online think discussion on social networks will encourage them to tune in to the live sporting action.

Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview said: “Viewers will be tuning in on bigger and better TVs and our research shows the importance of high definition to the viewing experience, as nearly a third of people chose HD as the most important technology. Three quarters of the population now watch Freeview and with over 5m Freeview HD TVs sets and boxes now sold6, millions of people across the UK can look forward to having the best seat in the house this summer to watch thrilling sports events in glorious HD, free from subscription.”

To view the entire findings, read our press release  or  download below.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2010 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st – 23rd May 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Freeview is a subscription-free TV service offering up to 50 standard digital TV channels, radio stations and interactive services through an aerial with no monthly bills. In addition, Freeview HD offers four free HD channels – BBC One HD, The BBC HD Channel, ITV1 HD and Channel4 HD.

Sources and Calculations:

1.  The methodology for the figure of 34m Brits was derived from multiplying the number of respondents who said they will be likely to watch live sport action this summer on TV (72%) by the total number of British adults over the age of 18 (47,754,569) = 34,383,289. The figure for total number of British adults was sourced from the Office of National Statistics, population estimates, mid 2010.

2.  The methodology for the figure of over 180m tweets was derived from multiplying the average number of tweets per day (0.26), by the number of duration of the Olympic Games (17 days), multiplied by the total online adult British population (According to ONS) (42,160,000) = 186,347,200.

3.  Source: Gfk report (April 2012)

4.  Source: BARB Report in TV viewing in 2011 (January 2012)

5.  The figure of over 8m adults was derived from 19% of all British adults being either very likely or fairly likely to communicate their experience online, multiplied by the total number of online British adults over the age of 18 (42,160,000) = 8,010,400.

6.  Source: GfK report, (April 2012)

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