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Old media habits die hard
|14 августа 2008|
Britain is turning into a nation of technophiles as increasing numbers watch television over the internet and shun landline connections in favour of devices known as dongles that link laptops to the world wide web.
But a report published on Thursday about the state of the UK communications market shows that despite that national hunger for novelty, old media habits die hard.
The time Britons spend watching television the conventional way has declined only slightly in the past five years. And although mobile phones can seem annoyingly ubiquitous, fixed-line telephones are still used for most calls.
Overall, Ofcom, the media and telecommunications regulator responsible for the report, found that people were spending more time using communication services in 2007 compared with 2002. It also found they were paying less for the privilege compared with 2006.
Consumers spent 429 minutes, or more than seven hours a day, watching television, listening to radio, surfing the internet and making fixed-line and mobile calls in 2007, compared with 423 minutes in 2002.
The figures refer to home rather than office activity and imply we have become a society of multi-taskers, often doing two things at once, such as watching television and talking on the phone.
The figures suggest much of this additional time is spent on the internet and on mobile phones. Internet usage quadrupled between 2002 and 2007, with people spending 24 minutes a day web surfing last year.
Ofcom found 17 per cent of households with broadband watched television over the internet at the start of 2008, compared with 9 per cent last year.
That jump partly reflects the rising popularity of the BBC iPlayer, the television over the internet service launched late last year by the public service broadcaster. Even so, traditional television viewing is holding up. In 2007, 218 minutes a day were spent watching television, compared with 224 in 2002.
Mobile usage doubled between 2002 and 2007, with people spending 10 minutes a day on the phone last year.
One finding emerges with particular clarity from the report: Britons are addicted to text messaging, with 58.8bn texts sent in 2007. The nation sent an average of 67 messages a month in 2007. While international comparisons are not available for that year, the figure is more than three times the output of their French and German counterparts in 2006.
However, the mobile is not about to replace the fixed line. Of the 247bn minutes of calls made in 2007, 60 per cent were made from fixed-line phones.
The big consumer innovation this year is the mobile dongle: a user-friendly modem enabling wireless connections to the internet to be made from laptops. About 133,000 dongles were sold in June, compared with 69,000 in February.
Ofcom made great play of how Britons’ expenditure on communications services had fallen last year, contrasting the savings on offer with the rise in food and fuel prices during the same period.
The average household’s spending on television, radio, broadband, fixed-line phone and mobile services was £93.63 a month in 2007, down 1.6 per cent on 2006. The decline was driven by falling prices for broadband and fixed-line phone services.
The concept of “triple play”, in which television, broadband and fixed-line phone services are bundled into a single monthly bill, is becoming more popular.
Britain also seems to be embracing the multi-channel world with alacrity. Ofcom found digital television has become as prevalent as the fixed-line phone in homes. By the start of 2008, 87 per cent had a television capable of receiving digital rather than analogue channels.
The report had good and bad news for the BBC and ITV, which continued to see their audience share fall in 2007. Last year was the first the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 secured a 70 per cent share of those watching multi-channel television.
Источник: Financial Times