Linear TV viewing is going from strength-to-strength despite the rise of online alternatives such as the BBC's iPlayer, according to the latest research.

The latest research from Thinkbox shows that the amount of time a day the average person watches TV in front of the traditional television set has risen by 13% since August 1993. Then an average of 3.27 hours were watched per person per day. Last month this had risen to 3.7 hours.

Commercial viewing has outperformed the overall rise, with non-BBC viewing rising by 21% from 1.81 hours a day in August 1993 to 2.19 hours over last month.

Upmarket viewers have been particularly drawn to commercial viewing over the years. Back in August 1993 that demographic group watched an average of 1.45 hours of commercial television a day, this year though this has risen by 28% to 1.86 hours. Overall ABC1 viewing has risen by 15% from 2.91 hours to 3.36 hours.

But younger viewers have been more fickle. Overall viewing in the 16-24 age bracket has declined by 2.7% with the number of hours watched per day falling from 2.6 to 2.53. However, this age group has been attracted to the commercial channels as viewing has risen from 1.55 hours a day to 1.77 hours, an increase of 14.2%.

The research carried out by the marketing body representing the main UK commercial broadcasters appears to indicate that the growth of online viewing services such as ITV.com, 4OD, Demand Five as well as the corporation's iPlayer has helped fuel a general rise in viewing rather than diverting potential viewers away from the traditional TV set.

The research also highlights that the figures may have been influenced by the particularly bad weather last month which was the second wettest on record, according the Met Office and had the least amount of sunshine since 1929.

The current economic downturn may have also had an impact with more people choosing to stay inside more rather than go out in the evening.

Thinkbox chief executive Tess Alps said: “We expected growth, but even we are rather amazed by these figures. We would happily have swapped some of the increase for a little more sunshine. Clearly, British TV is considerably more dependable and enjoyable than our climate.”

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