Television viewers' 40-a-day advert habit

Last updated at 20:16 24 January 2008

Watching TV

Viewers watched an average of 40 TV commercials a day last year, say researchers.

They estimate that adverts were watched a total of 2.25billion times a day during 2007.

The number was 3.9 per cent up on 2006 and 11 per cent up higher than 2003.

The increase has been blamed on the growth of digital TV, which offers more commercial channels.

Viewers are watching 11 minutes more commercial programming a day than ten years ago, according to a report produced by the TV marketing organisation Thinkbox using figures from ratings body Barb.

Experts say young people are switching off their TVs to go online. The figures showed 16 to 24-year-olds watched five fewer minutes of TV a day last year than in 2006.

However, they saw 31 adverts a day, up 1.5 per cent on the previous year.

The figures come as the Government prepares to give the go-ahead for product placement during programmes.

Critics say the UK is danger of becoming like the U.S., where programmes are interrupted by commercials more frequently.

John Beyer, of the pressure group Mediawatch UK, said: "Programmes are increasingly being made to sell services and products.

"People have got to realise that all these digital and satellite channels all have to be funded by advertising."