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Media Consumption UK 2014

Just finished reading through OFCOM’s 2014 The Communications Market Report: United Kingdom as always it provides an invaluable insight into device ownership and media consumption in the UK. Some interesting changes from the 2013 report:

“We’re now spending more time using media or communications than sleeping. The convenience and simplicity of smartphones and tablets are helping us cram more activities into our daily lives.”

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive

Media Consumption

Digital media consumption continued to grow across all age groups. The average UK adult now spends more time using media or communications (8 hours 41 minutes) than they do sleeping. With media-stacking or media meshing the total use of media and communications per day is closer to 11 hours for the average adult with the figure rising to 14 hours among 16-24 year olds. Much of this increase can be attributed to the growth in smartphone and tablet ownership.

Family in front of the TV

Watching TV on a TV set continues to be the most popular form of media consumption for the average UK adult accounting for just over a third (37%) of all media consumed. This activity is likely to be complemented by other forms of media consumption or communication. Watching TV and films online makes up 2% of total media consumption, 2% is spent watching short clips online, 5% playing games and 11% is spent consuming non audio-visual content on the internet.

These are average figures; consumption, confidence and knowledge of digital media varies with age, with the greatest difference noticeable between the youngest and oldest age brackets.

Internet Access

Eighty-two percent of UK adults have internet access at home, this falls to 50% among those aged 65+. Although the proportion of households with internet access has remained roughly the same the manner and quality of connection has changed as technology has evolved. Seventy-seven percent of households now access the internet on a broadband connection. Q1 2014 saw an increase in the numbers of adults connecting to the internet using their mobile devices; 15% of adults accessed the internet on tablets (an increase in 7%), and 23% of adults accessed the internet on smartphones (an increase of 8%).

older couple using tabletAccording to Nielsen, between March to April 201, 21% of the top 100 sites visited in the UK were search engines, 21% were news and information and 16% were entertainment. Younger people use the internet for a wider range of activities than their older counterparts. For instance three-quarters of 16-24s who have access to the internet use it to access social media as compared to a quarter of 65-74s and one-fifth of those aged 75+. On average 82% of UK adults use social media during the week. The average time spent on social networking sites per day is 51 minutes increasing to 1 and half hours for 16-24 year olds.This age group show a preference for streaming music over mp3s and CDs.

Device adoption and ownership

Greatest technical confidence and knowledge was found among the 14-15 year olds. Males demonstrate a greater confidence with technology, especially those in the ABC1 socio-economic group. However six in ten adults admit to sometimes being confused by new technology. Whereas the digital natives, children aged between 6-15, demonstrate greater confidence in new technologies with only a third admitting it confuses them. Within this youth audience, those aged 12-15 displayed greater interest and confidence than the younger 6-11 age group.

A TV remains the most popular device, with a digital TV present in 97% of all households. Seventy-nine percent of all households have at least one desktop PC/ laptop/ tablet. Forty-four percent of households have tablets and 14% of homes having two or more (the biggest growth in tablet purchase occurred over the Christmas period). Smartphone ownership increased from 2013 by 10% to 61% of adults. Smartphones were found to be the third most popular device after TV and laptop/desktop PCs.

Again these averages breakdown to reveal differences in ownership between age groups. Younger people tend to be faster to adopt new technology with 88% of 16-24 claiming to have a smartphone. Whereas the only 14% of 65-74s and 4% of 75+ own a smartphone.

Teenagers on smartphonesThe average UK adult spends 82 minutes each day on their smart phone. This figure increases for 16-24 year olds, who spend a quarter of their daily communications and media time (3 hours 36 minutes ) on their mobile phone. Over an hour of that time is spent accessing social networking sites.

The 35-44 age group, with a higher disposal income have the highest take up of tablets, (55%),  smart TVs (17%), DAB digital radios (38%) and computers (89%). More that a quarter (28%) of adults over 55+ own a tablet many of whom use it as their main computing device.

After TV, tablets are the most popular device among the 6-11 age group. Sixty percent of this age group claims to use tablets weekly compared to 38% of adults. For 12-15s, smartphones are the most used device each week (67%) after TV sets.

Almost half of (47%) UK adults and three quarters (75%) of 16-24s are aware of and use smartphone and tablet apps. Among children, over half (54%) of 6-15 year olds and three quarters (77%) of 12-15s claim to be aware of and use smartphone and tablet apps.

According to Statista‘s October 2014 figures, games continue to dominate the Apple App Store with 20.38% downloads followed by education with 10.36 % downloads. Google Play Store now has 1.3 m apps, slightly more than App Store’s 1.2m. Statista predicts that by quarter two 2016, there will be 43.2 million mobile app users in the UK.

A fifth of mobile internet users access News on their handset with BBC News being the most popular provider. Younger people are three times (60%) more likely to get their News online. Conversely, 90% of those aged 55+ say they watch news on TV.

Mobile advertising continues to grow as device ownership and mobile network coverage increases. Mobile advertising doubled to £1bn in 2014, accounting for 59% of the increase in total digital advertising spend in 2014.

TV & Radio consumption

Watching TV continues to be the most popular media past time and viewing figures have remained stable, although there has been a decline in younger audiences.

Around half of UK adults media and communication consumption is spent viewing audio-visual content through a variety of platforms. The average UK adult spends 37% of their total media and communications time watching TV on a TV set with Live TV accounting for 69% of content watched. Another 16% of viewed TV content was recorded and 10% was viewed online via ondemand catch-up services such as BBC iplayer or 4oD (5%), on other downloaded or streamed services such as Amazon Prime Video or Netflix (3%), and on short video clips (2%).

However the 16-24 age group spend less (24%) of their media time watching TV of which only half was Live TV, the majority of the rest of TV content (42%) is consumed via the internet –  online or downloaded, with 8% of the content consisting of short video clips.

Over one in ten (12%) households had a smart TV, the majority (82%) of owners using it to access the internet.

There was a slight decline in radio listening figures with average listening time decreasing by six minutes from 2013. This was particularly apparent among the 15-34 age bracket. Thirty-six percent of listening is via a digital platform and in Q1 2014 there were 213 million requests to listen to radio on BBC iPlayer.

Physical books continue to be popular with 84 % of the population owning a book collection, although this has declined from 93% in 2005.