Digital viewing up 18% in UK, reveals Ofcom

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The number of UK households with digital television has risen 18% in the past year, according to Ofcom's annual report on the communications market. The media regulator's latest facts and figures show that in the 12 months up to March 2006, the number of British homes with digital TV increased to 18.3m.

The report also reveals that viewers in Freeview households now spend more time watching digital-only channels than any of the five main terrestrial channels: BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five. However, the digital-only channels of the country's public service broadcasters—such as E4, BBC3 and ITV2—continue to see their audience share grow, having gained almost 6% of total viewing points between 2001 and 2005.

According the new Ofcom findings, the popularity of broadband continues to rise, with a total of 9m households boasting broadband connections in 2005, signifying an increase of 63% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, the internet has become the preferred medium of people between the ages of 16 and 24, and social networking web sites such as MySpace and its rival Bebo, which include video-based features, enjoyed a surge in popularity among young British adults—70% of whom have used at least one such site.

Ofcom's chief operating officer, Ed Richards—favourite to succeed former CEO Stephen Carter—said: "Our research reveals dramatic and accelerating changes across all communications industries. The sector is being transformed by greater competition, falling prices and the erosion of traditional revenues and audiences. A new generation of consumers is emerging for whom online is the lead medium, and convergence is instinctive."

Lovelace Consulting  |  11.08.2006

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