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The Communications Market 2013 (August)

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

Live TV accounted for 90% of all viewing in 2012, with the average viewer watching just over 4 hours daily. Online TV revenue in the UK has increased 12-fold in the last five years, from £21m in 2007 to £258m in 2012. Seven per cent of UK consumers had a Smart TV at the end of the March 2013. Of those 77% have connected it to the internet.

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On average, 90% of the UK adult population tune in to the radio each week

Listening to the radio on digital devices has increased to 34.3% of total listening, a 5.1 percentage point increase on last year.

The proportion of radio listeners with a DAB radio set in the home grew to 44%.

Radio listening on a mobile phone has risen from 13% to 20% over the past year.

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Superfast broadband (speeds of over 30 Mbit/s) is now available to almost three-quarters of UK premises. Just under a fifth (17.5%) of all fixed broadband connections were superfast at the end of March 2013. Total UK telecoms revenues decreased by 1.8% in 2012 to £38.8bnMore than half (53%) of active mobile subscribers were on contracts at the end of 2012, up from 49% in 2011.

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80% of UK adults have access to the internet at home via a fixed or mobile broadband connection or via a mobile handset.

The average household now owns more than three types of internet enabled device, with one in five owning six or more.

Tablet ownership has more than doubled in the past year (from 11% of homes to 24%).

Laptop and desktop internet users spend at least 35 hours online each month.

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includes Nations & Regions and International (December) reports

The reinvention of the 1950s living room

Huge growth in take-up of smartphones and tablets is creating a nation of media multi-taskers, transforming the traditional living room of our parents and grandparents into a digital media hub.

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2013 reveals that people are still coming together to watch TV in the living room – 91% of UK adults view TV on the main set each week, up from 88% in 2002.

However, an increasing array of digital media are now vying for their attention. People are streaming videos, firing off instant messages and updating their social media status – all while watching more TV than before.

These activities are mostly carried out using smartphones, with over half of adults (51%) now owning these devices, almost double the proportion two years ago (27%).

At the same time, tablet ownership has more than doubled in the past year, rising from 11% of homes to 24%. The average household now owns more than three types of internet enabled device, with one in five owning six or more.

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Mobile internet use grows in Scotland

The use of mobile phones to access the internet has grown faster in Scotland than any other UK nation over the last year.

Some 44% of people in Scotland access the web on their mobile, an increase of 13 percentage points on last year.

Broadband customers in Scotland claimed to spend 18.3 hours online per week, higher than Wales and Northern Ireland and the UK average of 16.8 hours per week.

Internet users in Scotland also report higher weekly use than the UK average of instant messaging and chat rooms (37% compared to 27%) and social networking (66% compared to 55%).

Scotland had the greatest number of HD-ready TV homes at 79%, with 52% of adults saying they would miss the TV most out of all media activities, higher than the UK average of 43%.

People in Scotland are significantly more likely to say they are very satisfied with Royal Mail, compared to people across the whole of the UK (64% compared to 37%). Overall, 93% of people in Scotland are satisfied with Royal Mail.

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Wales becoming an upwardly mobile nation

Nearly a quarter of homes in Wales are shunning the traditional landline and using only mobile phones to make and receive phone calls at home.

Twenty-three per cent of households in Wales are mobile-only, significantly more than the UK average of 15 per cent.

Adults in Cardiff are less likely than those in other parts of Wales to use their landline. This may be due to a higher take-up of internet-enabled mobile devices in Cardiff, with 61% of adults owning one, compared with 42% across the whole of Wales.

Smartphone ownership has also continued to increase in Wales over the past year, with over half (54%) of people now owning one, a 12 percentage point increase compared to last year.

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Northern Ireland leads the way in tablet computer take-up

Northern Ireland has the highest ownership of tablet computers in the UK.

The number of people owning a tablet has more than trebled in the past year, with nearly one in three homes (29%) having one, compared with 24% in the UK.

The surge reflects the continuing rise in take-up and use of the internet in Northern Ireland - eight in ten households (80%) now have access to the internet, up from 73% the previous year.

Northern Ireland also has the highest availability of fibre broadband in the UK, with 95% of premises able to access fibre enabled cabinets in June 2013.

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UK communications deals cheaper than in other major countries

The communications sector’s total global revenues in 2012 were £1,228bn, growing by 2.5% year on year (incorporating the telecoms, television, postal and radio sectors).

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