West Midlanders are proving reluctant to give up television as the recession forces consumers to tighten their belts.
The results of a recent Deloitte/YouGov report seem to show that individuals are relying more and more on television for their entertainment with 44 per cent of those asked admitting they would rather give up eating out before they reduced the amount they spend on television subscriptions and viewing apparatus.
Another 41 per cent would rather cut their spending at pubs and clubs in favour of a night in front of the telly and a similar number have started watching more than an extra hour of television each day.
However, an autumn harvest of couch potatoes is still not certain as almost a third of viewers are watching less television every week overall and one tenth have downgraded or scrapped their subscription services altogether.
This strengthens existing indications that consumers are becoming increasingly choosy in their viewing habits.
Almost half of those surveyed now own a personal video recorder (PWR) and use it daily.
These devices, such as Sky+ and Virgin V+, allow viewers to digitally-record programmes for later play-back whilst many more are using internet television such as iplayer and 4OD to catch shows they missed on their first broadcast.
Worryingly for advertisers, 87 per cent of those with PWR technology used it to fast-forward through adverts.
This may explain why 60 per cent of respondents would be happy to see commercial breaks on all terrestrial channels in return for scrapping the licence fee, even though a slightly larger number thought there were already too many adverts.
Dr Inger-Lise Bore, lecturer in Media and Cultural Theory at the Birmingham School of Media, said: “The results might suggest that, while many viewers dislike adverts and would prefer to have fewer of them, they might have resigned themselves to the current level of advertising.
“And though expensive advertising campaigns clearly increase the costs that consumers have to pay for these products, this is a far less obvious expense than the licence fee.
“Technology such as DVR also means that viewers have the option of fast-forwarding through the adverts while online viewing or illegal downloading often lets viewers watch programmes where the adverts have already been removed.”