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Nation picks settling down to a good box set over a book

Nearly two thirds (64%) would rather tune into a box set than pick up a book

  • Game of Thrones voted the best box set ever
  • Eight per cent say they fell in love with their partner over a box set
  • Rose Leslie launches Sky Box Sets Club – the UK’s first club dedicated to discussing addictively good box sets

New research[1] commissioned by Sky Box Sets, reveals nearly two thirds (64%) of Brits are choosing to settle down to a good box set over a book (rising to 82 per cent of under 24s). The nationwide study reflects the growing popularity of box sets in our everyday lives.


A quarter of respondents (27%) have three or more box sets on the go at any one time and, on average, they recommend their favourite shows to other people a whopping three times a week. More than half (52%) now also share their thoughts on what they’ve watched immediately on social media and 20% admit to feeling excluded if they hear others discussing a box set they haven’t yet seen.


To remedy a serious case of box set FOMO, 1 in 5 stay up all night to make sure they don’t miss out on the conversation. And nearly half admit Game of Thrones tops the ‘left out’ list.


While some forego sleep to catch up on conversational cliff-hangers, 10% say they will lie about watching a box set episode (rising to 1 in 5 (20%) of under 25s) by admitting to looking up episode synopses online in a bid to keep up with discussions. Again, Game of Thrones is the number one show people fib about seeing.


With the nation’s favourite shows such as Game of Thrones, The X-Files and The Walking Dead becoming such a social phenomenon, 73 per cent of under-24s and 57 per cent of 25 – 34 year olds say they would love join a club and chat about their favourite shows; which is why Sky Box Sets has teamed up with former Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey star Rose Leslie to launch Sky Box Sets Club – helping Brits share their passion for addictively good box sets.


Box sets are such an everyday part of life that for nearly a quarter of the population (22%) they are a regular topic of conversation at work, redefining the traditional ‘water cooler’ moment. A surprising further six per cent of 16 to 34 year olds confess to pulling a sickie from work to catch up on viewing. Even more surprisingly, the research shows that Brits find box sets so addictively good that many would rather watch their favourite show than have sex with a partner (12%).


The research also discovers eight per cent admitting they fell in love with their partner over a shared love of a particular box set. A quarter (24%) of box set lovers say TV is a hot topic on a first date, while over 1 in 5 (21%) 16-24 year olds say they’ve judged wanting to get to know someone better on the basis of their favourite box set.  Conversely, nine per cent admit they’ve tuned out after discovering their date was a fan of a show they didn’t like.

And we’re using tablets and mobiles to watch shows anywhere anytime – on holiday (7%), at work (3%) and even in the bath (5%) or on the loo (3%).
Behavioural psychologist, Emma Kenny, comments: “This research demonstrates our need for connection and shared experiences. The most important part of being human is connecting with others, and we should celebrate what helps us do that. Compared to books, box sets are a new phenomenon, but one nonetheless that gets people talking and connecting.
“With one in five people admitting to cheating, by looking up episodes they have missed online, it demonstrates the importance of feeling part of something. The best part the box set trend is the democracy involved. Box sets transcend social divides cutting across economic status and education and enable us to come together as a whole.”
Luke Bradley-Jones, Director of TV and Content Products Sky says: “With more and more people preferring to relax in front of a good box set rather than pick up a book, we want to help them kick start their conversations through Sky Box Sets Club.  It is a brilliant new way to catch up with friends, at home or online, over a shared love of addictively good TV shows.”
Sky Box Sets is home to more than 350 of the most addictively good shows including Billions, The Affair, Twin Peaks, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones.
To find out more and for the chance to attend Sky Box Sets Club visit sky.com/SkyBoxSetsClub
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