The Communications Market 2016 (August)

This is Ofcom’s thirteenth 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 reports

Broadcast TV generated record revenues of £13.6bn last year – partly driven by pay-TV subscription income rising to £6.2bn.

Some 27% of households now own a smart TV.

Online TV revenues grew by 23% to reach £976m.

Almost six in ten adults used a video-on-demand (VoD) service in 2015.

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Total UK radio industry revenue remained stable at £1.2bn.

Some 89.6% tuned into the radio in 2015 and spent just over three hours listening each day.

But time spent listening each week by 15-24s has fallen by five hours in the past ten years.

Over two-fifths of radio listening is through a digital device.

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Total UK telecoms revenue increased by £0.2bn to £37.5bn.

Mobile subscriptions increased to 91.5 million – of which 39.5 million were 4G.

The number of superfast broadband connections rose by 2.0 million (28.7%) to 9.2 million.

The average fixed broadband line used 82 GB of data per month in 2015 – a 41% increase from June 2014.

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Almost nine in ten (86%) of UK adults now have internet access at home.

The average internet user estimates they spend 25 hours online each week.

Smartphones are the most widely-owned internet-enabled device among UK households.

Total UK expenditure on internet advertising increased by 16.4% to £8.6bn

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Addressed letter volumes continued to fall (by 3.7% to 12.2bn) and at a faster rate than in 2014.

But with nearly a quarter of adults (23%) saying they prefer to shop online, demand for parcel services remains high.

UK adults sent an average of 6.6 items of post per month in 2015, of which 1.2 items were parcels.

A majority of adults (56%) say they prefer to send emails rather than letters whenever possible.

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Digital detoxers are ditching their devices

Fifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen.

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016 reveals how our reliance on the internet is affecting people’s personal and working lives, leading many to seek time away from the web to spend time with friends and family.

It finds that one in three adult internet users (34%), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone.

Of these digital down-timers, 25% spent up to a day internet-free; 20% took up to a week off; and 5% went web-free for up to a whole month.

Many people found their time offline to be a positive experience: a third (33%) said they felt more productive, 27% found it liberating, while a quarter (25%) enjoyed life more. However, 16% experienced a ‘fear of missing out’ (‘FOMO’) while on the web wagon, 15% felt lost and 14% ‘cut-off’.

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One in four people in Scotland ditch their device to digitally detox

One in four internet users in Scotland have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen.

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016 reveals that 25% of Scottish internet users have sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (10%) doing so in the last week alone.

The most common reasons for taking a ‘tech timeout’ were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 47%) and more time with friends and family (29%).

Scots felt they were better able to cope without the internet than people in the UK as a whole (61% compared with 52%). Many also found their time offline to be a positive experience: almost half (45%) said they felt more productive, 33% enjoyed life more and a quarter (25%) found it liberating.

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4G mobile reaches nine in ten Welsh homes and offices

More than 90% of premises in Wales now have outdoor 4G coverage according to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016.

It reveals that 4G coverage from one or more of the mobile operators stands at 90.1% in Wales, narrowing the gap with Scotland (92%), England (98.8%) and Northern Ireland (99.3%).

Outdoor 4G coverage from all four mobile networks reached 43.9% in May 2016, up from just over 20% in 2015 (an increase of 23.9 percentage points). This compares with the UK figure of 71.3%.

In the past year, the proportion of adults in Wales using 4G services has almost doubled with more than four in ten (44%) now using a 4G mobile service, compared with 23% in 2015.

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More people online than ever before

More people in Northern Ireland are now online than ever before, according to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report Northern Ireland 2016.

But it also reveals that around one in three internet users have taken a ‘digital detox’ in the last year in a bid to strike a healthier tech-life balance.

Two-thirds of people cut down on specific activities, such as using social media or browsing the web, and half of parents made rules of some sort to limit their children’s time online.

The most common reasons for taking a ‘tech timeout’ were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 62%) and more time with friends and family (43%).

Many people found their time offline to be a positive experience - 29% felt more productive while 38% were less distracted.

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