08.17.2006 12:00 AM
Ofcom Market Report Reveals Move Away From Established TV Broadcasting
U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom released The Telecommunications Market 2006 report last week.

The 293-page report contains some interesting findings about trends in the communications industry, including TV broadcasting, and consumer usage of, and attitudes to, various communications services. One conclusion reached was that a new "networked generation" is turning away from TV, radio and newspapers in favor of online services, downloadable content such as Podcasts and participation in online communities.

In a result that's sure to concern traditional TV broadcasters, the report found that on average 16- to 24-year-olds in the United Kingdom spend one hour less per day watching television than the average television viewer. Their radio listening is lower too, by an average of 15 minutes per day compared to the wider population. One bright spot, however, is that among all groups, TV viewing increased slightly, by 11 minutes per week.

Digital television, consisting of both satellite and terrestrial Freeview channels, is growing in popularity. Freeview households spend more time watching digital-only channels than any of the five main public broadcasting channels, but the public service broadcasters' own digital-only channels are gaining audience, with total viewing increasing nearly 6 percent between 2001 and 2005. Free TV remains popular and Freeview was the main driver of multichannel TV growth, adding 2.0 million homes in the 12 months ending March 2006. The report said there are now 7.1 million homes in the U.K. in which the main set receives digital terrestrial TV.

While the TV broadcasting model in the U.K. is quite different from that in the U.S., it is interesting to see that subscription revenues in 2005 were up by 8.5 percent to 3.9 billion pounds ($7.3 billon) for all pay TV services, exceeding commercial television advertising revenue in 2005 by almost 10 percent. Overall TV industry revenues increased 4 percent in 2005 compared with 2004.

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