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The Communications Market 2012 (July)

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

Viewers watched an average of four hours per day in 2011 – up from 3.7 hours in 2004. Over a third (37%) of UK adults with home internet watch online catch-up TV. Some 5% of UK households now own an internet connected ‘smart TV Total UK TV industry revenues increased by 4.9% year on year in 2011, reaching £12.3bn. This was driven by increases in subscriptions (up 8.3%) and advertising (up 2.1%).

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UK radio listeners listened to an average of 22.5 hours of radio each week, up by 24 minutes on 2010.

Listening to the radio on digital devices has increased to 29.2% of total listening, with DAB accounting for two thirds of this.

More than four in ten UK adults say they own a DAB radio set, a 4.4% year-on-year increase.

Total UK radio industry revenues reached £1.2bn in 2011, an increase of 3.5% year on year.

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Two fifths of UK adults now own a smartphone, with the same proportion saying their phone is the most important device for accessing the internet.

The average Briton now sends 50 texts per week

The average cost of making a mobile voice call fell to broadly the same level as a fixed line call in 2011.

For the first time, over half (52%) of all call volumes were made from a mobile phone.

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Tablet ownership has jumped from 2% to 11% in 12 months

Eight out of 10 people in the UK had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2012.

Average time online per month per internet user stood at 23.5 hours for 2011.

Two thirds of internet users have accessed Facebook.

Spend on internet advertising is greater than any other category of advertising

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includes Nations & Regions and International (December) reports

Text-based communications are surpassing traditional phone calls or meeting face to face as the most frequent ways of keeping in touch for UK adults.

The findings were revealed when adults were asked what methods they used at least once a day to communicate with friends and family.

The average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week – which has more doubled in four years – with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011.

Almost another ninety minutes per week is spent accessing social networking sites and e-mail, or using a mobile to access the internet, while for the first time ever fewer phone calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones.

Teenagers and young adults are leading these changes, increasingly socialising with friends and family online and through text messages despite saying they prefer to talk face to face.

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2012 also shows that traditional forms of communications are declining in popularity, with the overall time spent on the phone falling by 5% in 2011.

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Scotland closes the broadband gap

Sixty-eight per cent of homes in Scotland now have broadband, up from 61% a year earlier. The rise was driven by increased take-up of both fixed broadband (57% to 64%) and mobile broadband (9% to 12%) between the start of 2011 and 2012.

In last year’s report, Scotland’s broadband take-up was 13 percentage points lower than the UK average of 74% and the lowest of all the UK nations.

This year it is 8 percentage points lower than the UK average of 76%, on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish consumers are also much more satisfied with the speed of their fixed broadband service, with satisfaction levels rising by 12 percentage points to 85%. This returns satisfaction levels to what they were in 2009.

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Welsh consumers at forefront of the gadget revolution

Wales is a nation of fast adopters when it comes to new gadgets such as smartphones and e-readers.

More than two-fifths (39%) of Welsh adults are now smartphone users, up from only a quarter (25%) in 2011.

Younger age groups (16-24s and 25-34s) and more affluent households are most likely to own the devices.

At the same time, there has been a 56% jump in the number of people accessing the internet using their mobiles.

Wales also has the highest adoption of e-readers in the UK.

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Northern Ireland is ahead of the pack when it comes to superfast broadband availability

Northern Ireland has the highest availability of superfast broadband in the UK.

These services are available to around 94% of premises compared to 60% for the UK as a whole.

Consumers in Northern Ireland are also becoming increasingly technology savvy.

Some 34% of adults in Northern Ireland now own a smartphone - a 62% increase in the past year – and there has been a fourfold rise in the proportion of people who own a tablet computer (9% of homes in Northern Ireland had a tablet in the first quarter of 2012).

This is having a significant impact on consumers’ lives in Northern Ireland, with nearly three quarters of broadband users shopping online and two thirds social networking with friends and family.

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UK a nation of hi-tech TV lovers

Catch-up viewing most popular in UK on TV and online as audiences embrace connected TV devices

Smartphones and tablets driving website traffic

Young people in the UK are the world’s top mobile social networkers

UK consumers break the £1,000-a-year barrier for spending online

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