The Communications Market 2010 (August)

This is Ofcom’s seventh annual Communications Market report. This supports Ofcom’s regulatory goal to research markets and to remain at the forefront of technological understanding.

includes Nations & Regions and International (December) reports

Watching TV remains the activity that most adults would miss the most.

Nearly a quarter of people (22 per cent) say they have bought a HD-ready TV set in the last 12 months.

Some 31 per cent of households with internet access used it to watch online catch-up TV - up 8 percentage points over the year.

The proportion of time-shifted television viewing has more than tripled since 2006, from 1.7 per cent to 5.9 per cent.


People listen to 20.1 hours of radio per week.

Some 35 per cent of people own at least one DAB digital radio.

Total listening hours to all BBC Radio stations were down by 1.2 per cent during 2009 and down 2.2 per cent on five years previously.

All commercial radio listener hours were stable in the year but down 10.1 per cent over five years.


Consumers sent a record number of texts (over 100 billion) in 2009 equivalent to 1700 for every person in the UK.

Data volumes over mobile networks increased by 240 per cent in 2009.

Over a quarter of people in the UK (26.5 per cent) said they have a smartphone, more than double the number two years ago.

Nearly a quarter of adults (23 per cent) accessed content or sent emails on their mobile phones.


Broadband take-up has now reached 71 per cent.

Some 37 per cent of over 55s use email each day and 47 per cent use it weekly.

Social networking accounts for nearly a quarter of all time spent on the internet.

The average Facebook user spent 6.5 hours on the site during May 2010.

Usage of instant messaging declined from 14 per cent to 5 per cent.


TV, phones and internet take up almost half our waking hours

UK consumers are spending almost half of their waking hours watching TV, using their smartphones and other communications devices.

At the same time Ofcoms annual Communications Report into the UKs TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries also shows that were media multi-tasking more than ever before.

Media multi-tasking where, for example, a phone call is made while surfing the internet now accounts for 35 per cent of all media consumed throughout the day and the younger the person, the more media activity is done at the same time.

Among 16-24s, over half (52 per cent) of their media activity is simultaneous, compared to just over one fifth (22 per cent) for people aged over 55.

The growing popularity of smartphones and the changing way we use our mobiles is increasing our overall use of communications, and helping us do much more simultaneously. But while we are doing more, it is costing us less.

For the fifth year in a row spending on communications services has decreased.


Broadband take-up more than doubles in five years

The story of England's communications market in 2009 is one of relatively high take-up of a selection of communications services, often above the UK average.

Broadband take-up in England has more than doubled in the past five years and it's now the highest (73 per cent) among the UK's four nations.

Nine out of ten people have mobile phones but there are fewer mobile-only households in England (13 per cent) than in other nations.

Four in ten people in England use social networking sites, the highest proportion of any UK nation and mobile broadband take-up in inner London (27 per cent) is the highest of anywhere in the UK.

However, regional variations do exist in England, as well as differences between urban and rural consumers.

Broadband take-up is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, while online viewing in rural areas has also increased by 11 per cent to 44 per cent, overtaking levels of online viewing in urban areas.


Increase in television content produced in Scotland

The amount of television content produced in Scotland increased again in 2009 for the third year running.

Scotland now accounts for 3.6 per cent of all networked programming produced by the four public service broadcasters across the UK, up from 2.5 per cent in 2008.

The amount of networked production has risen in Scotland by 38 per cent since 2006, with programme spending rising from 50m to 65m.

Last year Scotland was also the only UK nation to see a rise in spending on programmes produced specifically for its viewers.

Scottish TV viewers also watched more TV than anyone else in the UK and they're also the most likely to use television as their main source of local news.

STV's evening bulletin attracts a 24 per cent audience share and is more popular than the average of other bulletins on the ITV network.

And while investment in both news and current affair programming fell across the UK , in Scotland spending on current affairs rose by 17 per cent while news spending increased 5 per cent.


Digital divide between Wales and the UK continues to narrow.

The digital divide between Wales and the UK as a whole is continuing to narrow, according to Ofcom's Communications Market Report for 2010.

Take up of services has increased in the last 12 months and in some areas Wales now leads the way.

Take up of both digital television and mobile broadband is higher in Wales compared with the other nations of the UK.

In Wales itself, rural areas are outperforming urban areas in the take up of communications services.

For example, consumers in rural Wales are more likely to own a mobile phone than their urban neighbours, despite there being more mobile not spots in rural areas.

But Welsh consumers are not only embracing communications services - they're also become increasingly tech-savvy.

Some 44 per cent of households now take a discounted bundle of services from one operator, up from 35 per cent the previous year.

And the use of social networking in Wales has also grown significantly in the past 12 months. Some 37 per cent of Welsh people now use a social network site such as Facebook, a 50 per cent increase compared with 2009.


Northern Ireland embraces online world

Northern Ireland is increasingly embracing the online world, with more people than ever before using social networking, watching catch-up TV, and making calls over the internet.

More people also have an MP3 player or an iPod than anywhere else in the UK, while more than half of homes (52 per cent) have a games console, the highest proportion in the UK.

Five years ago only a quarter of homes in Northern Ireland had broadband.

But take-up now stands at 70 per cent, almost matching the UK average of 71 per cent and well ahead of Scotland and Wales.

The increase in broadband has led to a rise in online activities such as social networking, watching catch-up TV, and making calls over the internet.

Rural consumers are also ahead of their urban neighbours when it comes to the use of many communications services, including broadband, mobile phones and satellite television.

However, people in Northern Ireland are consistently less satisfied with their home phone, mobile and broadband services than consumers elsewhere in the UK.


UK consumers among the best connected for broadband, mobile and digital TV