Thursday, August 10, 2006

Media habits are changing..

Ofcom has just released its latest round of facts and figures in its 2006 annual communications market report. Key points from the report tell us that the sector is being transformed by greater competition, falling prices and the erosion of traditional revenues and audiences. A new generation of consumers is emerging for whom online is the lead medium and convergence is instinctive.

Consumers have taken advantage of market competition and falling prices to increase their usage of broadband internet, digital TV and radio services, and mobile phones.

The number of households with broadband connections increased by 63% between 2004 and 2005, to a total of 9m, and the number of households with digital TV also increased by 18% in the year to March 2006 to a total of 18.3m.

The internet is the favoured medium for young adults aged 16-24, who spend 21 minutes a week more time online than the general population, but seven hours less watching TV and an hour and a half less listening to radio. [I wonder how much of that online access is instant messaging and downloading music and video?]

Social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace have soared in popularity with this age group, with 70% having used one and more than half using them at least weekly.

[I have no doubt this is true, but my experience of watching young adults and social networking sites is that they're fashion properties and that youngsters migrate en masse from one to another as fashion dictates. First MSN spaces, then flickr, then bebo, then myspace etc. And it all depends where their real-life friends are actually hanging out. Sure, they'll keep their profiles there but usage decreases over time.]

These young adults also use their mobile phone more than the general population, making seven more calls and sending 42 more texts per week. That's good news for the network operators.

I also spotted today that Sneak magazine from Emap is discontinuing its print edition and sticking to the online edition only as its readers have moved online. More confirmation that media habits have changed and it's not just about the early adopters any more.