Traditional media retains status in UK

25 January 2012

LONDON: A majority of consumers in the UK still favour traditional media channels compared with their digital counterparts, according to research from KPMG.

The advisory group allied with YouGov, the survey firm, to poll 2,177 people, 59% of which "preferred" traditional media, while 28% afforded new media the same status, and 13% did not favour either channel.

Some 82% of the audience favouring traditional media would rather watch TV shows and films on their television than a computer, and 82% said the same for reading from a physical product, not from a screen.

However, while TV's scores here had actually improved from 76% since 2008, the long term trend seemed less favourable for print, down from a high of 89% in March 2010.

Among the new media advocates, 84% liked being able to view material on-demand, 74% coupled this with the fact such access was free, 66% pointed to convenience and 64% thought it was easier to find interesting content.

To date, 68% of the panel had streamed content on the iPlayer, the BBC's online video-on-demand service, well ahead of ITV Player on 36%.

Elsewhere, the analysis reported that smartphone penetration has hit 44% in the UK, up from 27% just 12 months ago. Apple is the best-regarded smartphone brand on 28%, with HTC on 19% and BlackBerry on 18%.

Precisely 47% of smartphone users had only downloaded free apps in the last 12 months, 31% had selected a mixture of these and paid-for alternatives, and 18% opted against installing such tools altogether.

When looking to tablets, 46% of owners had utilised free and paid-for applications, 38% solely chose apps not commanding a fee, and 11% ignored these offerings completely.

The average smartphone subscriber who downloaded paid-for apps spent £6.97 in the month to 21 October 2011, rising to £10.78 for their counterparts using tablets.

Sending SMS was the most popular use for smartphones on 96%, beating taking photos on 86% and surfing the web on 76%. For tablets, going online scored 89%, emailing hit 82% and logging on to social media posted 63%.

More broadly, there remains a widespread reticence to pay for content, with 82% of interviewees suggesting they would rather switch to a different platform rather than pay to access material.

Data sourced from KPMG; additional content by Warc staff