Reuters – November 30, 2006
The rise of high-speed Internet and the explosion in online video content is fuelling a widespread decline in the number of people watching television according to a worldwide study by UK telecoms and media watchdog, Ofcom.
On average around one-third of consumers with broadband access watch less television since going online, the findings, which sampled a thousand people in each country, concluded.
Alongside tech-savvy younger generations watching traditional TV channels on their PC or laptop, instant messaging, blogging, social networking sites such as MySpace and user generated content sites including YouTube are driving more and more to ditch old fashioned sit-and-watch viewing habits.
Aided by the increased choice on-line, users are switching off the television and changing the way they consume media by tailoring what they watch to their personal tastes.
"Rapidly converging technologies and intense competition between providers are transforming the global communications sector," said Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards.
Ofcom said the Netherlands (58 per cent), Sweden (45 per cent) and Japan (44 per cent) had the highest percentage of their populations connected to high speed broadband, while China led the world in the percentage of people watching music videos and television programmes over broadband.
Results showed that 76 per cent of Chinese broadband users watch downloadable or streaming music video clips while 70 per cent watch TV over broadband.
A separate study by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) revealed that online usage was closely linked to broadband penetration. It found broadband penetration was up 14 percent across Europe year-on-year with Europeans now spending over 11 hours a week online.
The Ofcom report showed advertisers have been quick to recognise the booming demand for online content with Internet advertising now attracting almost 10 percent of total advertising spending in the UK.
The Ofcom study found that the British were the most prolific downloaders of music while making phone calls over the Internet was most popular in France.
The study also concluded that Internet access boosted radio audiences.
Last updated 04/12/2006