Friday, 15 August 2008

Ofcom Communications Market 2008 report shows trends for consuming different media at the same time and looks at iPlayer use

The new Ofcom Communications Market report has just been published ( The Ofcom Communications report is a lengthy document that reviews all aspects of communications in the UK market and I was intrigued by some of the statistics relating to ‘stacking’ (using 2 or more media channels at the same time.)

I have previously written about consumers using the internet at the same time as watching TV – with notable examples coming from Diamond Geezer on Dragons Den or live blogging around the Apprentice.

Blinkx also published information on this area when they undertook a US survey with Harris Interactive finding that for US consumers “about 78% are defined as media multitaskers - people who go online while watching TV, and more than a third of that segment say they do so always or often. So-called double dippers are defined as adults who surf the Web while watching television. About 40% of double dippers look for products or services online that appeared in or were advertised during the program they’re watching.”

For the UK market though, the Ofcom Communications Market 2008 report is the most notable documentation I have seen. Ofcom have found the following:

Convergence / 'stacking' - consuming more than one media channel at once

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All charts from the new Ofcom Communications Market report

The Ofcom data shows that up to 36% of viewers are consuming the internet whilst watching TV and that this is most prominent amongst younger audiences (who are also regularly using their mobiles during TV viewing.) TV viewing is also popular whilst surfing the internet with more people frequently watching TV whilst online than consuming anything else.

Catch up players and TV on the internet

The report also contains some interesting statistics about TV viewing online and the use of catch up players. 17% of those with broadband watched TV over the internet, up by eight percentage points on 2006. This is particularly apparent among younger people - 26% of those aged 15-24 claim to use the internet for ‘watching TV programmes’ in 2008 (up by 16% in 12 months) and 51% used it for ‘watching video clips/webcasts’ (also up by 16% over the same period.)

The Ofcom report contains charts about the BBC iPlayer that show the differences in programmes watched on BBC TV vs the BBC iPlayer and differences in audience between BBC TV and BBC iPlayer.

Eastenders dominates BBC1 viewing figures, however for the iPlayer in April the Apprentice was the most popular programme. This may in part be due to some of the clashes that the Apprentice had with the Champions League but is also indicative of the different audiences for BBC1 TV vs BBC iPlayer:

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The difference in audience between BBC1 and BBC iPlayer are demonstrated by the Ofcom chart below, where there is a big difference between the proportion of 16-34 year olds consuming BBC content through the iPlayer rather than on BBC1.

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All charts from the new Ofcom Communications Market report

The above statistics demonstrate how internet usage is impacting on media consumption and shows that it is now impossible to consider one media channel in isolation. Viewers will search online for information about a TV programme or respond online to TV advertising whilst they watch and it is important to take account of this when producing marketing / media plans. The Ofcom statistics also show the different audience behaviours by age group and highlight the differing media usage of young people in the UK (highlighted by the fact that 16-24 year olds who have broadband in their homes claim that they would miss the internet (47%) more than they would miss the TV (41%)).

The Ofcom Communications Market Report 2008 gives an interesting insight into communications in the UK. The report gives details on the advertising market, media consumption across a range of channels and a wide range of market statistics including broadband penetration, mobile usage and environmental issues.

Key points can be found here or the full Ofcom Communications Market Report can be accessed here.


Dan Thornton said...

It certainly ties in with previous research into multi-device households, and increasing multitasking.

I suspect the averages will vary wildly from reality for television - certain events will inspire a lot of interest and live blogging/microblogging etc. Other times it will be minimal because there's nothing worthy of discussion.

It's definitely a good reference for ensuring media types aren't viewed in isolation, and making sure all mediums work together to promote the same messages - albeit in different ways...

Nick Burcher said...

I agree that it will vary around different events. There was a big uplift in iPlayer traffic the day after the Apprentice clashed with the Chelsea v Man Utd Champions League final and I think this will continue - however it doesn't seem to be slowing uptake of recording devices.

Also NBC are seeing amazing results for their online Olympic streaming and I suspect there will be some interesting figures for BBC internet Olympic coverage too.