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20 August 2010

Trends in media consumption: online

Everyone uses the internet as a means to communicate, but different demographics prefer different to

By Nick Petrie

Internet take-up throughout older age groups is increasing rapidly. In the 55-64 bracket it is up 6 percentage points and for those aged 65-74 it is up 7.

Ofcom has also reported a 5 per cent increase (since 2007) in the number of users accessing the internet via a mobile phone, to 18 per cent. However, this rise does not necessarily reflect what many consider to be an explosion in the smartphone market.

Following on from this growth, online advertising has bucked the trend set by print and grown by 6 per cent to £3.5bn. Although some specific areas of online advertising have fallen, strong growth in search-based advertising has been behind the overall rise.

On the more social side of the internet, Ofcom’s report notes that two-fifths of the time people spend on their computer is spent communicating with others. When limited to the 16-24 demographic this number rises to over 50 per cent.

This demonstrates that despite parents’ fears that computers are destroying children’s brain cells, a claim often made about TV, people are actually using computers to interact and communicate more.

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Yet the age ranges communicate in very different ways: the older demographics rely on email, whereas younger people are far more likely to use instant messaging, social media such as Facebook, or text.

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