UK TV viewing extends online

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 
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Ofcom’s sixth International Communications Market report into the global communications market looks at take-up, availability and use of broadband, landlines, mobiles, TV and radio in 17 countries (the UK and 16 comparator countries – France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Poland, Brazil, Russia, India and China).

Some of the key TV market developments seen during the past year include:

  • Digital TV penetration during 2010 rose in all the countries included in this analysis, with take-up highest in the UK (97%), France (93%) and Spain (98%). The largest year-on-year increase in take-up of digital television was among homes in Brazil, where penetration rose by 20 percentage points to 59% of households in 2010.
  • Take-up of IPTV in France increased by almost a third in 12 months to reach nearly a quarter (24%) of French main television sets in 2010, making it the second most popular platform after DTT. No other nation was able to match France for the popularity of the IPTV platform, with the second highest take-up being in Sweden, where penetration stood at one in ten homes.
  • Consumers continue to embrace high definition TV, as channel line-ups grow. Penetration in the UK increased by a third in 2010, to 21% of main television sets, while HDTV in France and the US entered the mainstream, with penetration for the first time reaching a majority of households (60% (up by 18pp) and 54% (up by 9pp) respectively).
  • Digital video recorders are now widely available in comparator countries. Take-up was highest in the US at 41%, followed by the UK, where the comparable figure was 35%. Year-on-year adoption in the UK rose fastest, by 4pp, which was also the highest proportional increase over the period.
  • Technologies that have become available more recently are beginning to gather momentum among consumers. Thirteen per cent of consumers in France claim to have access to an internet-connected television. In Australia, the comparable figure was 9%; in the UK and the US it was 7%. Ten per cent of viewers in Italy claim their main television set is 3D-ready, alongside 8% of those in Germany, 7% in France and 6% in the UK and Australia.
  • Over a quarter (27%) of UK internet users claim to access TV content over the web every week , up 3pp in twelve months, driven by the popularity of online catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and 4OD. Internet users in the UK are more likely to watch TV content over the web than users in France, Germany, Italy and the US.