Britons use media more than sleep

8 August 2014
LONDON: British adults now spend more time using media or communications (8 hours 41 minutes) than they do sleeping (8 hours 21 minutes) but multi-tasking on various devices takes the figure even higher, according to media regulator Ofcom.

When multi-tasking is taken into account, the average UK adult spends over 11 hours a day consuming media and communications, a rise of more than 2 hours since 2010, Ofcom said in its latest Communications Market Report.

The extent to which new technology has been embraced by younger people is another highlight of the survey, which questioned 2,000 adults and 800 children.

Ofcom said 16-24s cram over 14 hours of media and communications activity into 9 hours 8 minutes each day by multi-tasking, while 12-15s are "developing fundamentally different communications than older generations".

A full 94% of the time spent by 12-15s communicating is via text-based systems, such as instant messaging and social networks, while only 3% is spent making voice calls and 2% on traditional email. Adults spend 20% of their communication time on the phone and 33% using email.

This younger generation is the most digitally-savvy in the country and the report said people reach a peak of digital understanding at 14-15 years. Even children aged six have the same knowledge of new technology as the average 45-year-old.

"Our research shows that a 'millennium generation' is shaping communications habits for the future," said Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, although he emphasised that all age groups are benefitting from the new technology.

In terms of consumption, watching TV remains the most popular activity (3 hours 52 minutes) for Britons – the vast majority of it watched live – although this is the first time daily TV viewing fell below 4 hours since 2010.

Radio comes second (2 hours 46 minutes) while an average of 1 hour 8 minutes is spent accessing the internet via a PC or laptop.

Not surprisingly, the report also noted the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets – close to two-thirds (61%) of adults own a smartphone, up from 51% a year ago, and this rises to 88% of 16-24s. Meanwhile, 44% of households own a tablet.

Elsewhere, broadcast TV advertising revenue rose 4% to almost £3.7bn in 2013 while overall TV revenues increased 3.4% to £12.9bn, The Drum reported.

This included a 41% rise in online TV revenue to £364m as well as a 6.7% increase in subscription revenues to almost £5.9bn, or nearly half (46%) of all TV revenues.

Data sourced from Ofcom, The Drum; additional content by Warc
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