Global Trends

UK regulator Ofcom's latest report on the international communications market makes for interesting reading. Here are some of the key findings:

  • There is nearly one broadband connection for every four people across the countries in this report. With 26 connections per 100 people, the UK is third among our comparator countries, behind the Netherlands (35%) and Sweden (31%). Average growth in connections between 2004 and 2007 was highest in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland, at 5% per year.
  • In the US, internet users in the US spend the most time online – 15 hours online each week; those in Spain spend the least amount of time online, at just 7.5 hours per week.UK users rank second behind the US, at nearly 14 hours per week. Internet use per user has risen the fastest in the UK over the last four years, at an average annual rate of 30%.
  • The internet’s share of advertising spend is highest in the UK (19%) and Sweden (17%). The US, Canada and Japan are the only other countries where the internet makes up more than 10% of total advertising expenditure.Concurrent media use, or stacking, is now common across our comparator countries. Between 70% (Italy) and 83% (Japan) of consumers across our comparator countries claim to access the internet while watching TV. In the UK the figure is 74%.
  • Viewing of TV shows over the web is growing rapidly. US consumers download the most streams per head (26), with UK consumers next (8). Growth in the volume of downloads reached 131% in France during 2007, and 69% in the UK.
  • Broadcast TV viewing levels seem to be least affected by the internet in the US. In the US, broadcast-based TV viewing appears more resilient to internet access than anywhere else - the net percentage of US people viewing less broadcast-based TV since having internet access is 7%, whereas in all the other countries in our survey the figure was between 15% and 21%; in the UK it was 15%.
  • Mobile broadband availability using HSDPA technology now exceeds 70% in many European countries, prompting operators to develop residential mobile broadband services, enabled by plug-in ‘dongles' for laptops. HSDPA availability is highest in the UK (87%).
  • Digital recorded music sales grew by over 20% year-on-year in all our comparator countries except France and Italy. Mobile music downloads now account for over half of all recorded digital music revenue in France, Italy and Japan. In Japan, mobile accounts for over 90% of all digital music revenue, compared to 29% for the UK.
  • Mobile social networking is beginning to grow in popularity – 0.8 million mobile subscribers in the UK and 4 million in the US access social networking sites using their phones, thanks to improving handset capabilities, faster network speeds and bespoke SNS mobile applications.
  • Broadcast mobile television has had a mixed year. Italy is the biggest market in Europe with nearly 1 million DVB-H subscribers, though there have been service closures elsewhere