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Brits embrace new media

Internet, mobile use jumps

LONDON — The Brits are turning away from traditional media such as TV, radio and DVDs to spend more time online and using portable entertainment devices and cell phones.

U.K. consumers now spend 50 hours per week on the phone, surfing the Internet, watching television or listening to the radio, according to regulator Ofcom’s annual survey of the British communications market.

Average daily Internet use in 2006 (36 minutes) increased by 158% on 2002 and time spent on the mobile phone (almost four minutes per day) was up 58%.

Time spent watching TV was down 4% at three hours and 36 minutes, listening to radio was down 2% at two hours and 50 minutes and time spent on a fixed line phone was down 8% at seven minutes.

Fifteen per cent of British people have a digital video recorder and up to 78% of adults who own them say they always, or almost always, skip ad breaks when viewing recorded shows.

Bucking the viewing trend are the handful of Brits that subscribe to HD services — some 450,000. Of those interviewed by Ofcom, 43% said they watched more TV since buying into TV.

In some age groups women are the most committed surfers, but it is seniors who are spending most time online.

Among Brits aged 25-34, women account for 55% of the time this group spends using the web.

Among Brits aged 65 and older, 16% spend more than 42 hours per month online — making them the heaviest online users.

Survey confirmed that traditional advertiser funded webs are coming under increasing pressure as ad coin migrates online and to multi-channel services.

Online advertising in Blighty rose by nearly half in 2006 to £2 billion ($4 billion) as multi channel advertising attracted more than $2 billion.

Total TV television revenue was almost $21.6 billion in 2006, up 1.4% on 2005.

The gap between subscription and advertising revenue increased further during the year; subscriptions rose by 3.5% to over $8 billion while advertising fell by 2.2% to $7 billion.

In-house production by the broadcasters dropped 8.7% over the year to $2,860 million while spend on shows from independents and acquisitions grew 6.8% to $6,154 million.

The U.K.’s main networks have been losing audience share but have been able to offset this to some degree by the strong perfs of spin-off webs: Film4, More4, E4, ITV3 and ITV4 were among the top 10 gainers in share in the year to December 2006, said Ofcom.

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