As we find ourselves abundantly bedfast to our homes, it is unsurprising that television examination has sky-rocketed. Watching live broadcasts in the UK has added by 17% since the coronavirus lockdown, awkward years of decline.

And just as the British government launched its latest analysis into the future of public annual broadcasting, the UK has been axis to those same casework for news, ball and reassurance. In the first three weeks of lockdown, the BBC saw viewer numbers access by 23%, with more than a third of all television examination on the corporation’s platforms.

Nor is it just acceptable broadcasters benefiting from the lockdown. By early April, Disney’s new alive service, Disney , had almost angled its global subscriber numbers to 50 million, with a accidentally timed launch in most major Western markets in March. There has also been a notable spike in examination of “non-broadcast content” on TV sets every day at 9am, which apparently correlates with Joe Wicks’ hugely acknowledged child-friendly YouTube workouts.

Meanwhile, as theaters, cinemas and museums face activated closures, there have been a wave of plays, operas, ballets and exhibitions streamed over the internet. For many audiences this brings ahead aloof cultural adventures into the abundance of their homes.

But such enriching, absorbing and affable adventures are not attainable to all. There are homes in the UK after the superfast broadband access or accessories needed to access alive services. Ofcom estimates that around 53,000 homes in the UK are unable to access either a decent fixed broadband annual or good 4G coverage.

And while superfast broadband advantage in the UK has added to 95%, only 57% of UK homes able to access superfast broadband had done so by 2018. Smart TV buying has also sky-rocketed, but they are only owned by just under half of UK households. And although eight in ten adults now own a smartphone, domiciliary buying of laptops, tablets and PCs beneath in 2019 to 63%, 54% and 24% respectively.

Yet what is less often advised are the skills needed to use the technologies appropriate to access abreast television. In September 2019 we undertook an all-embracing study of a demographically adumbrative sample of 30 participants to find out how people find and access the television and alive agreeable they watch.

Remote access

Although it is important not to generalize from a small sample, we were struck by the again story that we heard from female participants aged 35 and over. This is conceivably encapsulated by one 54-year-old, who began our annual advertence that her TV examination had decidedly beneath over the past year.

As we explored her TV examination habits and asked her to show us how she found article to watch, it became credible that her time spent watching television had alone because she struggled to accomplish the new smart TV purchased a year earlier. As she explained: “I don’t bother with telly anymore. It’s gone too abstruse that I don’t know how to use it.”

Instead, she found herself going to bed earlier, spending more time attractive at emails and Facebook on her phone, or relying on her bedmate to find TV agreeable for her.

And she was not alone. A number of our older female participants relied on their ally to access television programs. When asked to show us how she found article to watch, one 55-year-old woman replied: “I rarely use the remote. It is mostly my bedmate that does the remote.” A 35-year-old woman also claimed that “nine times out of ten” it is her bedmate that holds on to the remote control.

Our older female participants also sometimes struggled with on-demand and alive services. One said she had not yet ample out how to set up a Netflix account. Another didn’t accept what BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub were, complaining: “You don’t get taught how to do these things do you, you know, as older people.”

Technical turn off

Juggling assorted remotes, axis on smart TV sets and using alive casework prevented these older female participants from accessing entire routes to content, and placed ascendancy over television examination in the hands of their partners.

The adventures of the women in our sample accord with a longer history of analysis absolute that men boss the use of media technologies in the home. The challenges our older female participants accomplished are likely to be as much to do with abiding cultural dynamics as with abstruse ability.

Ultimately it is not just access to superfast broadband and abstruse accessories that limits people’s adeptness to acquaintance the allowances of television in times of crisis, but also their abstruse and media literacy. And this, our analysis suggests, is likely to be a gendered, as well as a generational, issue.


So while television might be taking on an more important role during the coronavirus lockdown, the comfort, advice and ball it offers is not as widely attainable as we might think.

There are no aboveboard solutions to this problem. But there are steps that could be taken. For example, device manufacturers should be encouraged to advance the account of smart TV sets and absorb older women in their design.

Broadcasters and governments could invest in media and abstruse articulacy initiatives targeted decidedly at older female viewers. When proclaiming the allowances of new alive services, industry and government need to admit the challenges that older female admirers may face.The Conversation

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