Ofcom Report: 7 Hours a day media watching

The latest annual report from industry regulator Ofcom has revealed a number of interesting statistics relating to the comms and convergence markets.

Here’s a selection:

– Average household spend on telecoms services fell by nearly a pound in 2006 to £64.73 per month. For the first time, average mobile spend fell (by 70p to £31.72) as falling prices more than compensated for an increase in the total number of connections and in the average number of voice calls and text messages per subscriber. Like-for-like prices (based on a basket of services with average usage at 2006 levels) fell by nearly 9%.

– Total industry revenue in 2006 was £47.0bn, of which £38.5bn was retail revenue (i.e. revenue from end-users). This was an increase of 1.4% on 2005 but represents significantly slower growth than the previous five years as fixed-line revenues declined and growth in mobile and broadband revenues slowed.

– More than half of UK households had broadband by March 2007. The average (blended) headline speed in June 2007 was 4.6Mbit/s, although actual speeds experienced are often considerably lower, varying according to the quality and length of line from premises to exchange and the number of simultaneous users.

– Households with a mobile connection (93%) exceeded households with a fixed connection (90%) for the first time in 2006. Average calls per mobile connection rose above 100 minutes a month for the first time, while average calls per fixed-line connection fell below 300 minutes.

– At the end of 2006 there were nearly 70 million active mobile phone subscriptions in the UK, with further growth being driven by multiple handset or SIM ownership. Of these, 35% were contract connections (1% higher than a year previously).

– 3G moved into the mainstream in 2006 with connections growing by 70% to reach 7.8 million. The combined total of 3G customers on O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone networks is now higher than those on 3G-only operator 3UK.

– Local loop unbundling accelerated through 2006 so that by the end of March 2007, 72% of UK premises were connected to an unbundled exchange (an increase from 45% in March 2006). The proportion of premises in unbundled areas taking LLU services rose from 3% in March 2006 to 9% in March 2007.

– BT’s share of fixed voice volumes fell below 50% in 2006, for the first time. Indirect operators (those offering services over another provider’s infrastructure) were the main beneficiaries as their share of fixed-line voice calls rose from 25% in 2005 to 28% in 2006.

– Analysis of time spent online reveals that Britain is a nation of shoppers and social networkers. More time was spent on eBay than on any other web site, and social networking sites Bebo, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are all in the top ten sites by time spent.

– Women aged 25-34 spend over 20% more time online than their male counterparts. ‘Silver surfers’ also account for an increasing amount of internet use with nearly 30% of total time spent on the internet accounted for by over-50s (although, as over-50s account for 41% of the UK population, their internet usage remains significantly lower than average).

– The availability of broadband to more than half of UK households has driven the development of converged services and devices.

– Bundled communications services are increasingly popular with consumers, with 40% of households now taking more than one communications service from the same provider (up a third on last year). A majority of broadband customers take it as part of a bundle.

– Each person now consumes more than seven hours of media and communications services cumulatively per day. However, the tendency to consume some media simultaneously means that the actual time spent on media is likely to be less than this.

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