Take-up of digital TV and broadband has slowed in Wales
Since the end of 2006, take-up of digital television in Wales has risen by 2 percentage points, to 84%. This modest rise contrasts with England and Scotland, where relatively large increases of 11 and 9 percentage points respectively were recorded over the same period.
Historically, take-up of digital TV in Wales has been higher than the UK average, related to poor analogue television reception in some parts of the country, and the availability of the full Channel 4 and five services on digital television platforms. In addition, S4C Digidol broadcasts 12 hours a day of Welsh language programming, compared to 6 hours a day on the S4C analogue service. However, large increases in 2007 mean that England (86%) and Scotland (85%) now have similar levels of take-up to Wales, while Northern Ireland stands at 79%. Less than 1% of the population said that they did not have digital television because it was not available.
During the same period, broadband take-up in Wales has increased by 3 percentage points to 45%. Wales now has the lowest broadband penetration of the UK nations. This contrasts with significant growth in other parts of the UK; in England take-up rose from 44% to 57%; in Scotland from 46% to 57% and in Northern Ireland from 42% to 52%.
Non-ownership of telecommunications services is due to cost and lack of interest
Consumers who do not have fixed line phones, mobile phones or broadband typically say that this is because they don’t want them or that the cost is too high. No respondents state that lack of service availability is the reason they did not have these services.
Communications service take-up is highest in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport
New survey data this year allow us to see how take-up and use of communications services varies across different parts of Wales.
Take-up of digital TV is highest in Cardiff (95%), Swansea (88%) and Newport (88%), compared to 82% in the rest of Wales. Similarly, take-up of broadband is highest in Cardiff (58%), Swansea (56%) and Newport (62%), compared to 42% in the rest of Wales. Take-up is lowest in smaller urban areas in the south (34%).
Use of converged communications services is highest in Cardiff, and in some cases Swansea. For example, use of VoIP stands at 17% in Cardiff and 18% in Swansea compared to the average of 11% across Wales. The figure stands at 13% in England, 11% in Scotland and 9% in Northern Ireland. Over a third (36%) of adults in Cardiff have watched video content online, compared to 24% across Wales. Adults in Cardiff are also more likely to have listened to radio online (14%), compared to the Wales national average of 9%.
Whilst take-up is highest in these cities in Wales, rural areas in Wales have higher take-up of fixed-line phones (88%) and broadband (51%) than in urban areas of Wales taken as a whole (77% and 43% respectively).
DAB radio coverage is set to improve in Wales
The advertisement of three new local multiplexes over the past year should significantly improve DAB coverage in Wales, particularly for the BBC’s services, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru. In addition, two new FM services have launched, including a new licence for South Wales. However, XFM South Wales is currently up for sale.
Key points: converged communications
- A quarter of adults in Wales have watched video content online
Broadcasters operating in Wales are repackaging regional content for distribution over the internet; the BBC, S4C and ITV all offer online Wales-focused programmes. Around a quarter (24%) of adults in Wales have used the internet to watch TV or video content, rising to 36% in Cardiff. This compares with 30% across the UK as a whole. Use appears to correlate with broadband penetration.
- One in ten adults in Wales have listened to radio online
Many radio stations offer listen-live functionality over the internet. One in ten (9%) in Wales have used the internet to listen to the radio; lower than the UK average (13%). Use is higher in England, with similar levels in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- 17% of adults in Wales have accessed mobile internet
Accessing the internet using a mobile phone is less common in Wales (at 17%) than the UK average (20%).
- 16% of adults in Wales have listened to audio on a mobile handset…
One in six adults (16%) in Wales have used their mobile handset to listen to audio content – a similar level to the UK overall. There is a big difference between urban and rural areas, where use stands at 17% and 11% respectively.
- …although very few have watched video on a mobile handset
Across Wales, only a very small proportion have used their mobile to watch television or video clips – 4%, the same as the UK as a whole.
- 15% of adults in Wales have used a social networking site
Fewer people in Wales use social networking sites than the UK average – 15% compared to 20%. Again this is related to the lower take-up of broadband in Wales.
- One in ten adults in Wales have made VoIP telephone calls
Eleven per cent of adults have used the internet to make VoIP telephone calls in Wales, very similar to the UK figure (12%), and up from around 7% in 2006. Use appears higher in Cardiff and Swansea, and lower in rural areas. Unsurprisingly, use of VoIP also correlates with broadband penetration.
- 16,000 Wikipedia articles are available in Welsh
More Wikipedia articles are written in Welsh than any other UK indigenous language other than English. As of January 2008, there were around 16,000 Wikipedia articles written in Welsh, two and half times as many as were written in Irish.
Key points: television
- Digital TV take-up has slowed in Wales
At 84%, take-up of digital television (DTV) is close to the UK-wide average of 85%. However, growth in Wales has slowed, rising 2 percentage points between 2006 and 2008, while the UK average climbed 10 percentage points.
- Satellite television take-up is higher in Wales than the rest of the UK
In 2007, 52% of homes in Wales paid for television services – 3 percentage points higher than the UK average. Of these, 79% took satellite, a higher proportion than in any other UK nation, and 14 percentage points higher that the UK average (65%).
- The five main PSB channels had a collective viewing share of 62%
The five main PSB channels in Wales attracted a collective share of 59% (62% if the full Channel 4 service is included), the lowest share of any nation and 5 percentage points below the UK average. BBC One was the most watched channel in Wales, delivering an all-homes share of 23%, followed by ITV1 with 20%.
- BBC One’s early evening local news in Wales attracted the largest share in the UK
BBC One’s early evening local news bulletin in Wales attracted the highest viewing share in the UK in 2007, at 35% (compared to the UK average of 28%).
- The BBC and ITV1 spent £35m on Wales originated output in 2007
The BBC and ITV1 spent £35m on originated output for viewers in Wales during 2007; this accounted for 11% of their UK-wide spend. This figure was 13% higher in real terms than in 2006, against a UK-wide average reduction of 3%, and was driven in large part by the BBC’s increased spend on non-news and non-current affairs output. S4C spent an additional £69m on originated output – the majority of this went towards drama (£16m), general factual (£14m), sport and children’s programming (£9m each).
- Per head, spend on originated output was over twice the UK average
On a per head basis, viewers benefited from spend of £11.63 on originated output by the BBC and ITV1 during 2007. This figure was over twice the UK average of £5.41.
- There were 1,249 hours of Wales originated output in 2007
The £35m funded 1,249 hours of originated output in 2007 – nearly 200 fewer hours than in 2006. S4C transmitted an additional 5,768 hours for viewers in Wales (2006) – one third of which was in the Welsh language. Current affairs/factual programming accounted for the largest proportion of these hours (31%), followed by light entertainment (20%) and drama (18%).
- Out-of-London production quotas met by the BBC, Channel 4 and five but shortfall by ITV
The BBC Channel 4 and five each met their out-of London production quotas by value and by volume in 2007. While ITV1 met its 50% volume quota, achieving 53%, the proportion of ITV1 spend outside London in 2007 was 44% - significantly below the 50% minimum. ITV’s failure to meet the value element of its out-of-London quota is a serious matter, and one which is the subject of further consideration by Ofcom with a view to regulatory action.
- Viewers in Wales more concerned about TV content
Viewers in Wales expressed more concern than in any other UK nation about what was on television – 42% were fairly, or very, concerned ( UK average 36%).
Key points: radio
- Wales has highest levels of radio listening in the UK
Radio audiences in Wales averaged 24.4 hours of listening per week in 2007, higher than in any other UK nation but down slightly from 24.7 hours in 2006. The BBC’s national and network radio services attracted a collective share of 62%, significantly higher than the UK-wide average figure of 54%. The popularity of BBC Wales meant that conversely, commercial local stations were less popular, attracting a 27% share in Wales, up from 24% last year, but still lower than the UK average of 32%.
- BBC national stations have highest reach in Wales
The two BBC national stations for Wales reached 576k listeners each week (equivalent to 23% of all adults in Wales) in 2007, up from 551k in 2006.Real Radio was the nearest commercial competitor with 363k listeners per week (up from 327k), followed by Red Dragon with 256k (down from 302k).
- Digital radio listening increasing
Around one in seven (14%) individuals in Wales own a DAB digital radio set. This is lower than in England (22%) and Scotland (21%), but higher than in Northern Ireland (13%). Ownership in Wales remained relatively stable over the year, while the UK increased by 4% on average. Almost a third (32%) of listeners in Wales say they used digital TV to listen to radio stations in 2007. With one in seven (14%) listening to radio via the internet.
- BBC radio spend per head highest in Wales,
BBC expenditure on the national stations for Wales increased to £29.9m in 2006/07, up by £2.5m on 2005/06. This took average spend per head to £10.48 in 2006/07, compared to the UK average of £3.60.
- Commercial revenues in Wales are the lowest among the UK nations
Commercial radio generated £21m of revenue in 2007, up by £2.3m on 2006. This took commercial radio revenue per head to £7.41, up from £6.69 in 2006, although this was still lower than the UK average of £8.11 per person.
- Digital radio availability set to increase in Wales
Three local digital radio multiplex licences were awarded in 2007/08, covering Northeast Wales, Mid and West Wales, and North Wales. The three multiplex areas potentially cover a combined total of almost a million people in Wales. All three services will carry the BBC national stations, BBC Radio Wales and Cymru, along with local commercial radio services. National DAB digital radio coverage from the BBC and Digital One was estimated to have reached 74% of the population in Wales by 2008, up from around 54% in 2006.
- Five new community radio licences awarded in Wales
There are 19 licenced FM/AM commercial local radio stations aimed at listeners in Wales, along with two national stations from the BBC. The typical listener can receive four to five of these stations. In addition, five community radio stations now broadcast in Wales, with a further four licences awarded for stations yet to go on air.
Key points: telecoms
- Take-up of telecoms services lower in Wales than the rest of the UK
Take-up of telecoms services is generally lower in Wales than in the rest of the UK: 79% of households in Wales have a fixed-line (compared to 87% across the UK), 82% have a mobile phone (84% across the UK) and 55% have internet access at home (65% across the UK). Take-up of fixed and mobile telephony in rural areas of Wales (74%) is lower than average in rural areas of the UK (84%).
- Broadband take-up highest in Cardiff and Swansea
Internet access in Wales has not grown significantly since 2006 although broadband take-up rose from 43% to 45% over the period. Broadband penetration is higher across the larger southern urban areas (58% in Cardiff and 56% in Swansea), and lower in the smaller southern towns (34%). Broadband take-up in rural areas of Wales is similar to that in rural areas of Northern Ireland, but lower than in England and Scotland.
- 3G take-up in Wales highest in the UK
Reported take-up of 3G mobile services in Wales (20%) is higher than in England (18%), Scotland (14%), or Northern Ireland (17%).
- 82% of broadband customers in Wales are satisfied with connection speed
Ninety per cent say they are satisfied with their overall broadband service in Wales, similar to the level across the UK as a whole (89%). A slightly lower proportion of broadband customers (82%) are satisfied with the speed of their broadband connection, consistent with the UK average (83%).
- 89% of mobile customers in Wales satisfied with reception
Eighty-nine per cent of people in Wales are satisfied with their mobile phone reception, slightly higher than the UK average (87%). Satisfaction levels are lower in rural areas (84%) than in urban areas (90%), with people in Mid Wales the least satisfied (77%).
- Mobile phone coverage on the A470 road has been surveyed
Ofcom commissioned a survey of mobile phone coverage on the A470 road. The results suggest that coverage in less populated parts of the route are significantly less than in population centres.
- 63% of premises in Wales connected to an unbundled local exchange
By November 2007, 63% of premises in Wales had lines connected to unbundled local exchanges (compared to the UK average of around 70%).
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