More for less, as online viewing doubles

The report shows that in 2007 an average of seven hours and nine minutes a day was spent using an array of communications services – up by six minutes from 2002. "This includes watching television, surfing the net, using our mobiles, talking on a landline phone and listening to the radio," said Ofcom.

Despite this growth in use and take up, when it comes to paying for communications services, consumers get more for their pound. Overall average household spend on communications services was £93.63 a month in 2007, a fall of £1.53 (1.6 per cent) on the average spend in 2006 and a fall of £4.31 (4.4 per cent) since 2004. Ofcom attributes this to three main factors: discounts from bundles; lower prices for broadband and bargain hunting.

In terms of TV viewing, Ofcom notes that whilst there has been a small increase in the number of minutes spent each day watching the TV (218 minutes in 2007, compared with 216 in 2006), we are increasingly taking control of our TV viewing. Viewers are watching programmes when they want and how they want, rather than just relying on the TV schedules.

The proportion of people with an Internet connection who are watching TV programmes online more than doubled from eight to 17 per cent in twelve months. The BBC iPlayer, which enables viewers to watch programmes up to a week after they were broadcast, delivered more than 700,000 daily video streams in May 2008. Nearly a third of Internet users (32 per cent) watched video clips and webcasts in 2007, compared to a fifth (21 per cent) in 2006. The number of UK Internet users who watched YouTube, reached 9 million in April this year, nearly 50 per cent more than a year ago.

More viewers are now able to choose when to watch, pause and rewind live TV. At the end of 2007, nearly six million households (23 per cent) had a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) up by 53 per cent in a year.

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