Ofcom releases International Communications Market Report 2014

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 
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The UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, has released its International Communications Market Report (ICMR) 2014 which examines take-up, availability, price and use of communications services across the world’s major countries.


Global TV revenues (including broadcast advertising, channel subscription and public licence fees only) increased by 3.1% in 2013 to reach £254bn.

The UK experienced the largest annual growth in television revenues among the European comparator countries, increasing by 3.4% or £0.4bn in 2013. Revenues fell year on year in Italy, Spain and Poland, with Spain having the largest proportional year-on-year decline, falling 6.2%, or £0.2bn.

The number of homes taking pay TV continues to rise, driven by growth in developing markets. On average, 67% of TV households among the comparator countries had pay TV in 2013, up from 65% in 2012. Growth among the BRIC countries (66% take-up in 2013 compared to 63% in 2012) was a key driver.

A third of the online population in the UK use the internet to watch TV programmes or films at least once a week. In terms of types of content ever watched online, TV programmes are more popular than films in the UK.

Among those who watch TV online, almost half (48%) watch catch-up TV services from free-to-air broadcasters on a weekly basis, the largest proportion among comparator countries. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents in the US had used a non-broadcaster subscription VoD service in the past week, a higher percentage than any comparator country other than China.

TV owners in the UK are the most aware of the watershed. In the 50th year of the watershed in the UK, Ofcom research shows that 94% of TV owners are aware of the watershed in the UK, more than in any other comparator country which has similar provisions to protect children from harmful content.

TV viewing on the internet

Among its European counterparts, the UK is first for the use of internet-connected televisions: almost a quarter (22%) of UK consumers say they have a ‘smart’ TV, with the vast majority of these (84%) having connected it to the internet.

One third (32%) of the online population in the UK use the internet to watch TV programmes or films at least once a week, the highest of any European country surveyed.

However, individuals’ TV viewing declined more in the UK last year than in any other comparator country.

The average person in the UK watched 3 hours 52 minutes of TV per day in 2013. This was slightly above the average for the countries surveyed, but represented a fall of 3.7% (nine minutes per day) since 2012. This was the greatest decline of any country, ahead of Sweden and China where viewing fell by 3.0%.

This may be explained in part by the fact that UK viewing in 2012 was boosted by the Olympic and Paralympic Games and a wet summer. Signs of economic recovery in 2013 may also be a factor in the fall in daily viewing minutes, as people return to employment or spend more disposable income outside the home.