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Multi-tasking and diversity are the hallmarks of media consumption in the UK today, according to Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report into the UK’s TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries.
Media consumption takes up 45% of people’s time, according to Ofcom, and is increasingly divided, from breakfast radio listening to lunchtime browsing, tweeting on-the-go and evening TV viewing.
The average person now sends four times as many texts in a day than in 2004, spends nearly a quarter of their time on social networks and spends 3 hours 45 minutes a day watching TV.
Although media multi-tasking is widespread, half of people consume only one type of media in the evening, with live TV dominating peaktime evening media use. The time people spend watching TV remains stable alongside internet growth.
The proportion of time-shifted TV viewing has more than tripled since 2006, from 1.7% to 5.9%. A major factor in this trend has been the growing use of PVRs.
Ofcom’s consumer research from the first quarter of 2010 showed that almost a third of households with internet access used it to watch online catch-up TV.
Smartphone ownership is up by 81%, from 7.2m users in May 2009 to 12.8m in May 2010, while take-up of mobile broadband increased by 8% over the year among 15-24-year-olds, and by 3% among 35-54-year-olds.
Facebook was the most popular mobile internet site, accounting for 45% of total time spent online on mobiles in December 2009. 20% of the time 16-24-year-olds spend social networking is done via mobile.
Not surprisingly, younger people show the greatest change in the use of media, in particular their use of different media at the same time. But the divide between younger and older media use is narrowing as the older generation gets online.
While people are doing more, it’s costing them less, Ofcom found. For the fifth year in a row, spending on communications services has decreased, with real household monthly spend on communication services falling 9.4% over the past five years to £91.24, as more people choose to buy their services in discounted bundles.
Online advertising grew through the downturn to reach £3.bn in 2009, driven by an 8% growth in search and 11% rise in display advertising.