You are weird, and 17 other things we learned from Ofcom's Communications Market Report

You oddball. Yes, you.

We are getting more and more connnected

But almost more interesting are the trends which have turned around. Digital radio take-up has declined in recent years, MP3 player usage has flatlined, and mobile broadband is less used than it has ever been since Ofcom started tracking it. At least some of that is likely to be cannibalisation by smartphones, which can do all of that and more. And sure enough, "internet on mobile" is the fastest growing category on either of these tables.

No one wants to give up TV

When people are asked the one activity which they couldn't give up, watching TV is still number one by a huge margin. But using mobiles is steadily becoming more and more of a necessity — and no wonder, because they can do almost all the rest and more.

Because we all watch it all the time

We're actually spending more time in front of the TV than we did five years ago, and slightly less time using the internet on computers. We've doubled the amount of time on a mobile, but from such a tiny base, there's a lot more to go.

Media "stacking" and media "meshing" are things

This is basically OFCOM splitting the commonly accepted definition of "second screening"—literally using a second screen while you watch TV—into two different things. Media meshing is doing something related to what you're watching on telly, while media stacking is doing something completely different. Meshing is what the broadcasters want you to do, since it increases the value to advertisers and allows them to demonstrate how engaged you are with their content. Stacking is what you actually are doing, though. More than half of us have done something else while watching TV. Young people do both more, but the difference is stark when it comes to meshing. 

Tablets get shared around

If you're the only person who uses your tablet, you're in the minority. Two thirds of them are used by someone else, normally partners or children.

You are weird

Only 32 per cent of the UK get their news from the internet. You—yes, you, dear reader—are an odd minority.

That said, this figure is self-reported, and it shows. The thought that 79 per cent of the country doesn't "use" word of mouth for news is faintly ridiculous. So it may be the case that people actually do use websites for news, but just don't think of it because it's part of a larger process of general newsgathering.

Even so, it's clear that TV rules the roost. And not even the rolling news channels, just good, old-fashioned BBC One. Remember that, next time you wonder why Ed Miliband is prepared to sound like a robot to get his talking point on the 6 O'clock News.

YouTube isn't as popular as it seems

Slightly over half of Britain admitted to "regularly" viewing video clips. Again, it may be a reporting error, but it's far lower than regular visitors of the New Statesman website may expect.

No-one uses their DVR

Two thirds of Britain has the ability to time-shift their viewing of TV, thanks to services like Sky+; but only a tenth of the country actually does it. 

The five-channel model of TV is out of date

Almost every home now watches at least 15 minutes of TV on a channel other than the big five once a week, and nearly 50 per cent of our watching time is spent on these other channels. The big losers have been BBC One and ITV, which no longer command anywhere near the share they did in the 1980s.

Men like sports, women like "living"

BBC One is the channel with the best male/female balance, while some channels have an unusally gendered audience: News is blokey, apparently, while all the ITV channels except the deliberately male-focused ITV4 have strong female audiences.

A fun quirk, that CBBC apparently has a "younger" audience than Cbeebies, is probably due to the fact that parents are more likely to watch TV with their toddlers than with older children. That would also explain the gender balance for those channels, since stay-at-home parents are overwhelmingly women.

Spotify is boss

But there's still room for more book clubs in the market, at least.

Rich people have more devices

Not particularly surprising, maybe; but there are a couple of quirks in the data. The most interesting is the flat graph for games consoles, which supports anecdotal evidence that these all-in-one entertainment boxes are a favourite of poorer families. The PS3, for instance, is also one of the cheapest internet-enabled devices on the market.

People who don't have the internet don't want the internet

A lot of ink is spilled on the "digital divide"—the damage caused by being offline in this day and age—but by far the most common reason given for not having the internet is a lack of interest. Just under a quarter can't afford it, and at least eight per cent of them wouldn't want one even if they could.

Amazon has taken ebay's crown

Meanwhile, the legacy retailers are far less popular.

Texting is dying

Landlines got more expensive last year, even though we used them less

On average, we made fewer calls, but paid more for the whole thing. "NTS" calls refer to phone calls to 08 numbers.

The 18 month mobile phone contract is no more

In boosting us all onto 24 month contracts, the carriers get an extra six months of locking us into the stupidly high fees we invariably accept for the latest mobiles. Stupid us.

Spare a thought for poor Royal Mail

The surprising thing about this is how long it took. The internet's been killing post for decades, yet we still sent well over twice the letters in 2007 as we do now. Well, unless you are under 35; then you've never used the post.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Forget planning for no deal. The government isn't really planning for Brexit at all

The British government is simply not in a position to handle life after the EU.

No deal is better than a bad deal? That phrase has essentially vanished from Theresa May’s lips since the loss of her parliamentary majority in June, but it lives on in the minds of her boosters in the commentariat and the most committed parts of the Brexit press. In fact, they have a new meme: criticising the civil service and ministers who backed a Remain vote for “not preparing” for a no deal Brexit.

Leaving without a deal would mean, among other things, dropping out of the Open Skies agreement which allows British aeroplanes to fly to the United States and European Union. It would lead very quickly to food shortages and also mean that radioactive isotopes, used among other things for cancer treatment, wouldn’t be able to cross into the UK anymore. “Planning for no deal” actually means “making a deal”.  (Where the Brexit elite may have a point is that the consequences of no deal are sufficiently disruptive on both sides that the British government shouldn’t  worry too much about the two-year time frame set out in Article 50, as both sides have too big an incentive to always agree to extra time. I don’t think this is likely for political reasons but there is a good economic case for it.)

For the most part, you can’t really plan for no deal. There are however some things the government could prepare for. They could, for instance, start hiring additional staff for customs checks and investing in a bigger IT system to be able to handle the increased volume of work that would need to take place at the British border. It would need to begin issuing compulsory purchases to build new customs posts at ports, particularly along the 300-mile stretch of the Irish border – where Northern Ireland, outside the European Union, would immediately have a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, which would remain inside the bloc. But as Newsnight’s Christopher Cook details, the government is doing none of these things.

Now, in a way, you might say that this is a good decision on the government’s part. Frankly, these measures would only be about as useful as doing your seatbelt up before driving off the Grand Canyon. Buying up land and properties along the Irish border has the potential to cause political headaches that neither the British nor Irish governments need. However, as Cook notes, much of the government’s negotiating strategy seems to be based around convincing the EU27 that the United Kingdom might actually walk away without a deal, so not making even these inadequate plans makes a mockery of their own strategy. 

But the frothing about preparing for “no deal” ignores a far bigger problem: the government isn’t really preparing for any deal, and certainly not the one envisaged in May’s Lancaster House speech, where she set out the terms of Britain’s Brexit negotiations, or in her letter to the EU27 triggering Article 50. Just to reiterate: the government’s proposal is that the United Kingdom will leave both the single market and the customs union. Its regulations will no longer be set or enforced by the European Court of Justice or related bodies.

That means that, when Britain leaves the EU, it will need, at a minimum: to beef up the number of staff, the quality of its computer systems and the amount of physical space given over to customs checks and other assorted border work. It will need to hire its own food and standards inspectors to travel the globe checking the quality of products exported to the United Kingdom. It will need to increase the size of its own regulatory bodies.

The Foreign Office is doing some good and important work on preparing Britain’s re-entry into the World Trade Organisation as a nation with its own set of tariffs. But across the government, the level of preparation is simply not where it should be.

And all that’s assuming that May gets exactly what she wants. It’s not that the government isn’t preparing for no deal, or isn’t preparing for a bad deal. It can’t even be said to be preparing for what it believes is a great deal. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.