a a a Display Options Cymraeg
Follow Ofcom on Facebook Follow Ofcom on Twitter Subscribe to the Ofcom RSS Follow Ofcom on YouTube Follow Ofcom on YouTube

Independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries.

Search Ofcom


The Communications Market Report: United Kingdom

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 Ofcom's annual Communications Report into the UK's TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries also shows that we're 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.

Real household monthly spend on communication services fell 1.7 per cent over the past year to 91.24, as more people choose to buy their services in discounted bundles.

Half of all UK households now buy a bundle of two or more services from a single provider compared to 29 per cent in 2005.

Seventy per cent of people with a bundle said that the main reason for taking a bundle was because it was cheaper.

The report also shows that traditional media is far from dead, with TV retaining a central part in our lives, particularly in the evening.

And its not just scheduled live television which continues to be popular - the number of people watching catch up TV services also increased by more than a third over the past 12 months.

 Download this section

 Download full document 

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.

Last year UK TV revenue as a whole contracted for the first time since 2003, down by 0.4 per cent to 11.1bn.

 Download this section

 Download full document 

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.

Despite less time being spent on radio listening the number of people listening reached a new high of 90.6 per cent (46.5 million adults) listening on a weekly basis by the first quarter of 2010.

 Download this section

 Download full document 

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.

 Download this section

 Download full document 

Lady on the phone

Consumers sent a record number of texts (over 100 billion) in 2009 equivalent to 1700 for every person in the UK (compared to 1200 in 2008).

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. Among 15-24s this rises to 45 per cent.

UK consumers who have internet-enabled phones are also spending almost as much time surfing the net on their mobiles (1.3 hours per month) as they do texting (1.5 hours per month).

Facebook accounted for almost half (45 per cent) of total time spent online on mobiles in December 2009

 Download this section

 Download full document 

The market context

TV and audiovisual content

Radio and audio content

Internet and online content

Telecoms and networks

Back to top