A new poll has revealed a huge underestimation of the hours Scots devote to the television, implying that we give false answers in surveys to make it appear we watch less TV than we actually do.
The majority of Scottish adults claim to watch less than 21 hours a week. But official figures show the real figure is far higher at 33 hours. And the figure doesn’t include programmes watched through iPlayer or other online methods, meaning the true figure will be higher still.
Research by TV Licensing Scotland found that TV time has increased sharply in recent years. The UK average for all ages – including children – is now 28 hours per week, three hours more than in 2001.
Women are the more prolific viewers, racking up 35 hours in front of the screen in an average week. By contrast, men lose just 31 hours of their lives to the TV.
As Scotland’s apparent love affair with TV intensifies, so does the number of sets we own. Scots now have an average of 2.3 rooms with TVs in them. Ten years ago just over half of all Scots had a television in the bedroom (58%). This has now jumped to almost three quarters (72%).
Despite the recession Scots still managed to buy 713,000 flat screen sets in 2010, twice the number sold in 2006, according to market analysts GfK Retail and Technology. The higher figure could be due to the popularity of digital sets as we prepare for the switch over to digital terrestrial television services.
The rise in TV viewing is perhaps not surprising, as more people now sign up to Sky or cable providers and vastly increase the choice of programmes they have available.
But the apparent deceit that leads to our telling surveyors that we watch less television than we actually do suggests that we are a little ashamed of the amount of time we spend in front of the TV.
So what are the guilty pleasures? Soap operas perhaps?