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Digital Divorce: 24 per cent of couples watch on-demand TV in different rooms

We’ve all been there. We want to watch Spartacus or Revenge while our better halves need to catch up on Revolution or Made In Chelsea. ‘It’s fine, I’ll go and sit in my room with the iPad, you catch up here in the living room…’ 

Research we’ve carried out has shown there’s a rise in what we’ve termed the ‘digital divorce.’ This is when cohabiting couples go their separate ways temporarily to catch up on different shows. 

We asked 1,423 straight couples who live together about their viewing habits. While most (52 per cent) said that they watch TV together regularly, only 27 per cent said they sometimes share the sofa. A further 21 per cent answered ‘never’.

Digital Divorce: 24 per cent of couples watch on-demand TV in different rooms
Her: God, what the hell is Proudlock wearing? Him: There’s a thousand better things I could be doing right now.

Our survey also suggests that a minority of couples (15 per cent) enjoy the same programmes, with 25 per cent answering ‘not really’ and 10 per cent admitting that they don’t ever watch the same programmes.

We then asked what couples do whenever there’s a clash in TV schedules and 24 per cent admitted that they go off to different rooms to watch TV seperately, like (relation)ships in the night.

A savvy 38 per cent said they’d record shows to watch at a later date (either together or alone); 17 per cent of couples demonstrated a willingness to compromise and alternate between choices while 14 per cent of couples said that one partner would always miss out.

Relationship of Demand

According to those we polled, it’s the girls who are wearing the trousers when it comes to deciding what’s on. More than half (61 per cent) of couples said that the man in the relationship lost out, compared to only 39 per cent of women.

In terms of what types of programmes caused the most friction, 57 per cent of gents said that they’d been forced to suffer soap operas at some stage while 53 per cent of ladies revealed live sporting events had become a source of domestic discontent.

Despite catch-up services liberating us from the restrictions of programme schedules, it looks like live TV, specifically sport, will always be a source of consternation for some couples. It’s all good being able to queue up episodes of your favourite show on iPlayer, 4oD, Netflix, Lovefilm Instant or whatever your digital drive-in of choice is, but any football fan will tell you there’s no substitute for watching the game live.

As we’ve seen with the rise of ‘second screening’ – or tweeting along with a TV show, as normal people call it – fans of soaps will also want to trade banter online about the latest stupid thing Spencer has done on #MIC as it’s happening.

The latest figures from the TV Licensing’s TeleScope report has shown that 40 per cent of Twitter traffic in the UK around peak time is about TV and 60 per cent of the UK’s 10 million tweeters use the service to talk about TV.

While these figures might suggest that couples are having to horse trade football matches and soaps or absconding to different rooms, we shouldn’t automatically assume that digital divorcees are unhappy.

After all, there’s more to a relationship than TV, right? 

Image credit: Flickr user BrettMorrison


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