Sky identifies top trends among viewing habits in lockdown

Friday 24 April 2020

At a time when the Great British Public is spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors, everyone has had to change and adapt how they are living their lives. It’s no surprise that Brits are consuming more TV, more apps and using more broadband.

Here Sky reveals what TV shows are keeping Brits informed and entertained; how daily routines have evolved with no commute or gym classes, and importantly, how people are staying connected with friends and family.

Changing behaviours

Sky has seen the highest ever TV viewing among its customers, an increase of almost a third. With more time at home, Brits are watching on average an extra 72 minutes of TV a day, equating to a grand total of 5.5 hours.

This rise is even greater for younger age groups reversing the decline in TV viewing seen in recent years with 16-34 year olds watching 45% more TV, an extra 85 minutes a day.

App usage on Sky Q has increased by almost 70% including growth from Netflix and an increase in first-time users on YouTube - with gyms, restaurants and theatres out of action, those with a passion for fine foods, fitness and the arts are having to turn online.

With no commute people are also watching TV earlier than usual, with the peak viewing time for live TV now an hour earlier at 8pm. Viewing on demand has risen across the day with spikes around 9am, as people no doubt tune into Joe Wicks morning PE classes, and between 2-4pm, suggesting that kids are catching up on TV at the end of the home-schooling day.

And with staying connected being more important than ever, people are having to look to new ways to speak and see their loved ones. Interestingly people are returning to more traditional modes of contact resulting in a 60% increase in voice calls made by Sky Mobile customers with people speaking on average for more than an hour per week.

And with a lot of people working from home and more On Demand viewing, Sky Broadband usage was up 33% year-on-year in March 2020.

What people are watching

There has been a ‘boxset effect’ with an increase of 26% of people turning to the beloved boxset with 123m downloads. Across Sky households, there was an increase of 28% in the number of downloads for Sky boxsets (total 34m), the BBC saw an increase of 28% (total 22m) and All 4 downloads grew by 66% (total 11m).

Requests to access content via apps such as Netflix and You Tube through Sky Q have increased by a third with over 50million requests.

With parents needing to keep their little ones entertained, viewing to kids on demand content has increased by 40% with Henry Danger, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Where’s Wally among the top show’s keeping them occupied.

Other notable increases have seen Sky Cinema viewing rise by 45% with Rocketman and Secret Life of Pets the most popular non terrestrial shows on air. With people unable to get their fix of live culture, Sky Arts has also seen an increase of 55%, with live performances from Elvis, Queen and Johnny Cash proving the most popular.

The UK has become a nation of news bingers as everyone tries to stay informed; Sky News has seen a 230% increase in viewing and lunch time news bulletins have seen the biggest uplift, BBC News at One is up by 70% and ITV news is up by 53%.

Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky, said: “Interestingly, we’re not just seeing viewers watch comedies or old classics to escape these uncertain times, but watching a broad mix of genres including chewy premium dramas and cinematic comedy as well as more escapist TV.

“We’re seeing that people are looking for variety in lockdown, no longer able to go to their weekly yoga class or their favourite restaurant, Brits are being imaginative, looking at ways to recreate their favourite pastimes at home.

“Importantly, people are doing what they can to stay in touch with loved ones, with a rise in traditional calls.”





Save Me Too

Sky Atlantic


Bulletproof 2

Sky One


Friday Night Dinner

All 4



Sky One


The Nest



Save Me

Sky Atlantic


Game Of Thrones

Sky Atlantic


Our Girl



London Kills



Chicago PD

Sky Witness


Keeping Up With The Kardashians




Sky Atlantic



Sky One


Sex And The City

Sky Comedy





Coronation Street



Modern Family

Sky One


The Shield

All 4





This Country




Notes to Editors:

  • All data, unless otherwise stated, refers to the period from 17 March until 5 April 2020.
  • Data referring to mobile refers to the period from 17 – 29 March 2020.

About Sky

With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 32,000 employees help connect our customers to the very best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own local, original content.

Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, we plan to double our investment in original content by 2024. We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in UK creative sector in the first five years alone.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, we believe it is our responsibility to do it safely. That’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030 – two decades before we have to – and we’re an inclusive employer recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity.