Multitasking media consumers becoming the norm


20 Aug 2010

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If you’ve sat with your mobile, netbook or tablet device in hand, idly surfing or tweeting while watching ‘Corrie’ or ‘Top Gear’ you are one of a growing number of media consumers who multi-task, consuming more media than ever before.

One fifth of all media is now consumed in this multitasking manner, according to the latest research from the UK’s independent communications regulator Ofcom.

Not only this but we’re far from abandoning the TV in favour of the internet. In fact it was found that the average consume spends almost half (45pc) of their waking hours watching television.

The thing is, we’re consuming more of everything: four times as many text messages are being sent per day in 2010 in comparison to 2004 and a quarter of the average UK consumer’s time on the internet is spent on social networking sites.

“For the first time we can see just how central media and communications are to our lives – on average we use them for nearly half our waking hours,” said Peter Phillips, Ofcom partner, Strategy & Market Developments.

“Increasingly, mobile devices – especially smartphones – are used for multimedia, but live evening TV still remains the main entertainment event of the day,” he added.

And while more media is being consumed less money is being spent. For the fifth year in a row, says Ofcom, spending on communications services has decreased in the UK. The organisation’s Communications Market Report on TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries shows that real household monthly spend on communication services fell 9.4pc over the past five years to £91.24 sterling due in part to consumers choosing to buy comms bundles (internet, cable and phone) at discounted prices.

And older consumers are not just price savy, they are also tech savy and are catching up on teens and young people.

“Younger people have shown the biggest changes in how we use media – particularly using different media at the same time. But the divide between younger and older people’s use of technology is starting to narrow as more older people are getting online and finding that things like email are very important to them,” explained Philips.