New research shows that 40m people in the UK now binge watch television series.

8 in 10 adults use services such as iPlayer, Netflix or Amazon, to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting. A third do so every week, and more than half do it monthly.

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The statistics are in Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report, which highlights the differences between young and older people.

Most binge viewers (70%) say they find it relaxing and enjoyable, while 24% says it’s an opportunity to discuss with friends. However, a third admitted that it had cost them sleep.

35% of binge viewers and 46% of young adults (16-24) say they’re trying to cut down on this way of viewing. This includes rationing (19%), finding a hobby (10%) and cancelling subscriptions (4%).

53% of 12-15 year olds do weekly “watch-a-thons.” That’s significantly higher than any other age group. This is partly driven by the fear of someone spoiling the series ending (25%).

The days of linear television do appear to be fading, with more than a third of viewers watching TV on the move. That said 9 out of 10 respondents watched live television every week, with family viewing still an “integral part of family life”.

68% said watching TV can bring the whole family together for a shared viewing experience.

Of streaming services, iPlayer is the most popular with 63% of adults saying they used it. ITV Hub is 40%, YouTube 38% and Netflix 31%.

‘Sharenting’

The report also looks into attitudes towards digital and online privacy.

It found that 56% of parents don’t indulge in “sharenting” or sharing pictures of their children on social media. The main reason for this (87%) is that they wish to keep their children’s lives private.

42% of parents do, however, share photos of their children and half of these do so at least once a month.

Of this 42%, more than half said their children were happy for them to do so; 84% said they only shared photos or videos their children would be happy with; and 85% said they were careful about who can access the material.

More than a third (34%) of 18-24 year olds said that the most commonly posted images were selfies. 71% of these said that it was important to look their best, while 47% said they did feel pressure to look good online.

This attitude is more common among women (82%), than men (58%).