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Ofcom: Blighty has devolved into a nation of unwashed binge-streaming mole people

Folk neglecting work, chores, family to catch up on Thrones

Game of Thrones

Online streaming has freed consumers from the tyranny of gawping at the crap telly other family members insist on watching, with one-third regularly sitting together in the same room to watch different programmes – according to a major report by Ofcom.

Of the 2,356 surveyed, only 30 per cent said they sit together with family members to watch the same TV programme or film on the same device every day.

Telly watching is increasingly a solo activity, with two in five viewing programmes alone every day and nine in ten doing it once a week, the regulator's annual Communication Market Report discovered.

Meanwhile, the research found we've turned into a nation of binge watchers with no self-control.

Some eight in ten adults in the UK use catch-up technology such as BBC iPlayer, or subscription services like Netflix, to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting, wiping out the wait for next week's instalment.

But the instant gratification of viewing habits is not without consequences: one-third of adult binge-watchers said they missed out on sleep as a result, 27 per cent said they neglected housework or chores, and 22 per cent admitted to neglecting their jobs.

Nevertheless, it was worth it for one-third who said at least binge watching gave them something to talk about with their friends and one-quarter said it allowed them to find out what happened in their favourite programme before some big mouth blabbed to them.

More than one-third of binge viewers said they wanted to cut down in some way, by setting goals to ration viewings, or even cancelling services.

Surprisingly, 44 per cent of fixed broadband connections were able to receive actual download speeds of 30Mbps, up from 38 per cent the previous year.

Ofcom found that total fixed broadband connections have increased by 0.6 million to 25.3 million since last year.

But the number of folk "very" or "fairly" satisfied with their overall fixed broadband service fell by 3 per cent to 84 per cent – presumably because all their online streaming is putting a greater demand on services.

Lindsey Fussell, consumer group director at Ofcom, said the regulator's previous research put minimum speed necessary for everyday usage at 10Mbps – the current universal service obligation target.

She said: "Clearly what we see not least through streaming is that people are using services and the internet in different ways. And take-up of super-fast broadband suggests people do want faster speeds."

Orange is the New Black was the most viewed subscription on-demand programme at the end of 2016, followed by Marvel's Luke Cage – both on Netflix. Amazon Prime's The Grand Tour came third. ®

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