Britons spend 14 hours online per week

Ofcom has issued a report into usage trends for TV, radio, Internet and telecoms. The key findings are below.

Converged communications

People in all the countries surveyed are spending much more time online. The US leads the way at just over 15 hours per week in 2007 – up from 11 hours in 2004. The UK is second at nearly 14 hours per week, an increase of nearly 6.5 hours a week in 2004, the highest increase amongst the countries surveyed.

The US and UK are also leading the trend of watching TV online. People in the US watched nearly 26 TV programmes per person in 2007, more than three times higher than in the UK with nearly 8 TV downloads per person. This increase has been driven by popular free to view TV (including the iPlayer in the UK, and the recently launched Hulu service in the US).

Canadians remain in the vanguard of social networking with 55 per cent of internet users visiting a social networking site. Half of UK internet users (50 per cent) accessed a social networking site, an 11 per cent increase since 2007.

Across all the countries surveyed, more women than men are using the internet. Some 56 per cent of Italian women use the internet compared to 44 per cent of Italian men. Japanese and Spanish women follow at 55 per cent, with the UK and France having an equal gender split. Women in the US are bucking this trend, at 48 per cent compared with 52 per cent of men using the internet.

Telecoms

Increasingly people are relying on their mobile phone as their main device to make telephone calls. Italy has the highest number of mobile-only households at nearly 40 per cent. Around a third of all households in Poland are mobile-only followed by a quarter of all Spanish households and a fifth of all homes in the Republic of Ireland.
Japan has the highest number of 3G phones with 83 per cent of mobile users in the country having a 3G connection in 2007, up over 50 per cent since 2004 when only 13 per cent had 3G services. Italy is second with 27 per cent, followed by the Republic of Ireland at 26 per cent, with the UK at 17 per cent. Canada has the lowest take-up of 3G mobiles at just one per cent of connections.

Average broadband take-up was 56 per cent of households in 2007, compared with 12 per cent in 2002. The UK is above average, with 60 per cent of households connected. The Netherlands leads the way with 81 per cent of households followed by Canada at 66 per cent of households. Sweden and the US were close behind at 62 per cent and 61 per cent respectively.

There are also signs that growth rates in the broadband sector are slowing. Among the countries covered by the report, only the USA and Germany saw a higher growth rate in 2007 than in 2006.

Broadcasting

The number of TV households grew by over 50 million in China between 2002 and 2007.

Viewers in the US watch the most television of the countries surveyed, at 4.5 hours on average. Polish viewers watch more television than the other European countries at 4 hours a day and people in Sweden watch the least at 2.6 hours a day. UK viewers watch 3.6 hours a day on average.

Time spent listening to the radio is highest in Poland where listeners spend an average of 4.8 hours each day tuning in, with the Republic of Ireland following at 4.2 hours. People in Spain, at 1.8 hours, and Japan, at 2.2 hours per day, are least likely to listen to the radio. In the UK people tune into the radio for 3 hours a day on average.

Online radio listening in the UK is increasingly popular, with a third of people saying they listen via the internet at home. There was also a similar level of online listening in Germany (34 per cent) and Italy (31 per cent). France had the highest level of online radio listening at 37 per cent whilst this was lowest in Japan, at 17 per cent.

To read the full report, go to http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2008/11/nr_20081120

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