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Social composition of early UK television audiences

In 1947 the British television audience was confined to the London area, within range of the transmitter at Alexandra Palace. (It was not until 17 December 1949 that viewers outside the capital could share the delights of the new medium.)
        The television audience in 1947 was predominantly middle-class—as might be explained by the relatively high cost of receivers. To put this into a clearer perspective, however, it is likely that only 35,000 television sets were in use by the end of 1947.

UK television audience 1947

Yet, seven years later, when TV sets still cost upwards of £80, the composition of the market has changed quite radically. The majority of TV homes in 1954 belong to Class III in the less segmented classification then used. By now, the year after the fillip given to the television market by the Coronation, the number of TV households has grown to 3.25 million.

UK television audience 1954

Source: B P Emmett: 'The Television Audience in the United Kingdom' in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 1956.

See also BBC Audience Research 1952
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Page updated 24 March 2001
© David Fisher