Stuck at home, unable to travel or socialise with friends, lockdown was always going to lead to more time in front of the box.
But Covid has truly turned us into a nation of couch potatoes, with the average Briton whiling away a third of their waking hours watching TV during the pandemic.
Families typically spent nearly six hours per day bingeing on broadcast channels, streaming services and online content such as YouTube last year, research reveals.
The rise – up by 47 minutes on 2019 – came as tens of millions were confined to their homes and also caused subscriptions to platforms such as Netflix to rise by 50 per cent to 31million.
Ofcom's Media Nations UK report found that on average an adult spent five hours and 40 minutes enjoying content across TV, streaming services, DVDs, YouTube and games consoles.
By September last year three in five homes were using paid-for sites.
Time spent watching such services doubled and more than half of households – 52 per cent – now subscribe to Netflix alone.
Ofcom's Media Nations UK report found that on average an adult spent five hours and 40 minutes enjoying content across TV, streaming services, DVDs, YouTube and games consoles [Stock image]
Worryingly for the likes of BBC and ITV, the report said 42 per cent of subscription streaming users 'envisage' not watching broadcast TV at all in five years' time.
The average time spent watching traditional broadcast TV was three hours and 12 minutes, nine minutes more than 2019. But broadcast TV's overall viewing share dropped from 67 per cent to 61 per cent.
The big increase in viewing and sign-ups for paid-for streaming services is largely being driven by older adults signing up to these services.
It is understood that while 16 to 24-year-old subscriptions to Netflix went up by 15 per cent last year, the increase was much higher for 45 to 74-year-olds, with a 36 per cent rise.
Growth in the popularity of online platforms was driven by older viewers taking out subscriptions and younger viewers – already using the services – watching more, as well as Disney+ launching.
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom's group director of strategy and research, said: 'TV and online video have proved an important antidote to lockdown life, with people spending a third of their waking hours last year glued to screens for news and entertainment.
'The pandemic undoubtedly turbo-charged viewing to streaming services, with three in five UK homes now signed up. But with subscribed growth slowing into 2021 and lockdown restrictions easing, the challenge for the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Disney will be to ensure a healthy pipeline of content [to] keep customers signed up.'
For 16 to 24-year-olds the average time spent watching traditional broadcast TV was just one hour and 17 minutes.
Worryingly for the likes of BBC and ITV, the report said 42 per cent of subscription streaming users 'envisage' not watching broadcast TV at all in five years' time [Stock image]
Adults typically spent an hour and five minutes per day watching streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ – the figure almost doubling last year.
Ofcom said the pandemic had 'accelerated existing trends in video viewing'.
Figures revealed the dominance of Netflix in streaming, with the US giant boasting 29 of the 30 most watched programmes that were shown on these subscription services.
The report singled-out hit period drama Bridgerton which was watched in 8.2million homes by the end of March this year.
The Euro 2020 final is the most watched programme so far this year, with a combined audience of 22million watching the broadcast on BBC1 and ITV.