State Of The TV Nation

It's a good day for stats highlighting the state of TV in the UK.

ITV reported sales down by 15% (17% for the Group) and NewsCorp admitted that its UK newspapers and online businesses had seen an 18% decline.

Meanwhile there's a raft of interesting data, as ever, in the lastest OFCOM Communications Market report.

Nearly a quarter of households were watching catch-up TV online in 2008, compared to 17 per cent in 2007. Online catch-up TV has been driven significantly by the BBC iPlayer - with 15 per cent of internet users now watching the service, double the figure this time last year. ITV's catch-up service was next at 3.3 per cent. And more than three quarters of TV viewers (78 per cent) said that they enjoy programmes more because they had access to a catch-up service.

Around a fifth (19 per cent) of viewing in Sky+ homes is timeshifted, more than for subscribers to Virgin Media's V+ service who timeshifted 12 per cent of viewing, with 9 per cent of viewing in Freeview DVR homes was time-shifted programmes.

Despite the recession, the TV industry grew by 1.3%, although the BBC Licence Fee's 1.2% increase accounts for most of this (and the success of Sky + much of the remainder). Virgin Media revealed that they are losing customers, but making more money from the customers they have.

The number of television channel licences awarded by Ofcom has decreased year on year, with 495 channels already on-air at the end of 2008, up from 470 in 2007. Seventy-seven licences were issued by Ofcom in 2008, down by 46%, and the lowest number issued since 1998 when digital television launched in the UK.

It may be the recession, or it may be looking at the above trends and realising that nowadays it's potentially more lucrative to go straight online with a TV channel.