Britons spend almost half their waking hours watching TV or on the internet, with the rise of smartphones causing a dramatic rise in digital media consumption, according to new research.
The study, from communications watchdog Ofcom, indicates that consumers often multi-task while consuming media, with the average person fitting an average of eight hours and 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours each day.
Ofcom puts this down to rising smartphone ownership and the falling cost of mobile contracts and bundles.
Around a quarter of the waking day is spent on the internet on social networking sites, while about three hours and 45 minutes are spent watching TV.
Peter Phillips of Ofcom said: “Increasingly, mobile devices – especially smartphones – are used for multimedia, but live evening TV still remains the main entertainment event of the day.
“Younger people have shown the biggest changes in how we use media – particularly using different media at the same time. But the divide between younger and older people’s use of technology is starting to narrow as more older people are getting online and finding that things like email are very important to them.
Smartphone ownership is up 81 per cent from 7.2 million users in May 2009 to 12.8 million in May 2010. In June this year, over a quarter of Brits said they owned a smartphone, more than double 2008’s figures.
Surfing the internet via mobile phones is the fastest growing mobile media activity with one million new users during the first quarter of 2010, and Facebook accounted for almost half of the time spent online via mobiles, accounting for 45% of total time spent online on mobiles in December 2009.
Younger people showed the greatest change in the use of media, in particular their use of different media at the same time. 20% of the time 16-24-year-olds spend social networking is done via mobile.
But the divide between younger and older media use is narrowing as the older generation gets online.
While people are doing more, it’s costing them less, Ofcom found. For the fifth year in a row, spending on communications services has decreased, with real household monthly spend on communication services falling 9.4% over the past five years to £91.24, as more people choose to buy their services in discounted bundles.
Online advertising grew through the downturn to reach £3.bn in 2009, driven by an 8% growth in search and 11% rise in display advertising.
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