The Communications Market 2014 (August)

This is Ofcom’s eleventh 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

On average viewers watched 3 hours 52 minutes of TV per day in 2013, down by 9 minutes from 2012.

It was the first time since 2009 that TV viewing has fallen below 4 hours per day.

The UK TV industry generated £12.9bn in revenue in 2013, up by £426m (3.4%) on 2012.

Spend on content by all UK TV channels in 2013 increased by 3.7% to £5.8bn. The increase was driven by higher spending by sports channels.


Some 90.4% of the adult population tuned into radio in 2013.

Over the past six years the reach of radio has remained largely unchanged.

Average time spent listening to radio per listener fell in 2013 by 6 minutes per day. The decline among those aged 15-24 and 24-34 has been the most rapid, but there are now signs of a reduction in listening hours among those aged between 55 and 64.


The number of superfast broadband connections increased by 58% to 6.1 million in the year to March 2014.

The proportion of all fixed broadband connections that were classed as being superfast increased by 9.2 percentage points to 26.7% over the same period.

4G services are now available on all four UK national mobile networks, and by March 2014 there were more than 6 million 4G mobile subscriptions.


The number of adults with household internet access grew to 82%, a rise of two percentage points from March 2013.

Fixed broadband increased by one percentage point to 73% in the first quarter of 2014, while mobile broadband rose three percentage points to 8% of UK households.

Music streaming is more popular than MP3s and music CDs among people aged 16 to 24.


Addressed mail volumes fell by 5.0% between 2012 and 2013 from 15.5 billion items to 14.8 billion items. There are now 5.8 billion fewer items in the market than in 2008.

For the first time since its introduction in 2004, the volume of access mail declined in 2013, falling by 0.6%. Access mail is mail that companies other than Royal Mail collect, sort and transport from bulk senders before handing it to Royal Mail for final delivery. In 2013, 49% of mail volume came from access agreements.

Mail revenue increased for the third consecutive year, growing by 2.9% in 2013 to reach £7.5bn.


Techie teens are shaping how we communicate

A ‘millennium generation' of 14-15 year olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK, according to a new Ofcom research, which shows that after our teens our digital confidence begins a long decline.

Teens born at the turn of the millennium are unlikely to have known ‘dial-up' internet and are the first generation to benefit from broadband and digital communications while growing up.

The research - part of Ofcom's eleventh Communications Market Report - measures confidence and knowledge of communications technology to calculate an individual's ‘Digital Quotient' score, or ‘DQ', with the average UK adult scoring 100.

The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, finds that six year olds claim to have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds. Also, more than 60% of people aged 55 and over have a below average ‘DQ' score.

It shows that we hit our peak confidence and understanding of digital communications and technology when we are in our mid-teens; this drops gradually up to our late 50s and then falls rapidly from 60 and beyond.


Scots embracing smartphones

People in Scotland are taking up smartphones at a faster rate than any other UK nation.

Take-up has risen by 17 percentage points in a year to 62% in 2014, in line with the UK average of 61%.

Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2014 also reveals the increasing popularity of the tablet computer in Scotland.

By the beginning of 2014, 42% of households owned a tablet, such as an iPad or Kindle Fire, an 18 percentage point annual increase.

Broadband take-up rose by six percentage points in a year to 76%, just below the UK average of 77%.The take-up of broadband in Glasgow has also increased year on year.


Superfast broadband rolls out in Wales

Wales is catching up in the rollout of superfast broadband.

The number of premises covered by Next Generation Access (NGA) networks - used to provide superfast broadband services - has increased by 10 percentage points, year on year.

This brings the number of premises covered to 58%, compared to the UK average of 78%.

But despite the increase in the availability of new broadband services, the proportion of adults in Wales who had signed up to a fixed or mobile broadband connection (71%) was 6 percentage points lower than the UK average.

The increase in availability of superfast broadband has been driven by the Welsh Government's Superfast Cymru project.


Northern Ireland becoming a nation of gadget lovers

Northern Ireland is becoming a nation of gadget lovers with the number of people owning smartphones reaching 55% while tablet ownership has leapt to 45%.

Alongside Wales, Northern Ireland has the highest rate of tablet ownership in the UK - up from 29% a year ago and 9% in 2012.

Smartphone ownership has risen from 45% to 55% in the past year, with the biggest increase among people in rural areas.

Smartphones are most popular among young people (aged 16-34) while tablet computers are more popular with older users (35-54).

Linked to the take-up of these mobile devices is the number of people accessing the internet on the move, rising 6 percentage points in the past year to 51% and helped by significant improvements in 3G mobile coverage.

The proportion of premises in areas with outdoor coverage from all four national 3G networks has increased by 20.2 percentage points to 82.1% from a year ago, driven by significant investment by network providers.


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).