by: Dick Stroud

OFCOM (The UK’s communications regulatory organisation) has just released its 2006 analysis of communications in the UK. It is a must have document for UK Marketers.

One of the main findings is that the young are giving up on traditional media (surprise, surprise). This is a straight cut and paste from the report’s main findings................

In 2005, we noticed a further shift in communications consumption patterns among the young (16-24 year old) age group. While it is true that usage of media, telecoms and technology has always varied by age, this difference has become more marked over the past year.

Younger people have embraced the multitude of new technologies and means of communication, to the detriment of ‘traditional’ platforms and services. For example, in a multi-channel TV world, younger viewers now watch less public-service broadcasting output than ever before (share of viewing to terrestrial channels among 16–24 year olds is down from 74.3% of their viewing time in 2001 to 58% in 2005) – opting instead for newer digital channels that might better reflect their values and interests. In radio, too, this age group is listening to proportionately less analogue and local commercial output than average and is instead replacing it with digital listening and output from the newer national commercial services.

A similar theme emerges in telecoms, where young adults are forsaking fixed-line telephony in favour of mobile calls and texts – 16-24 year old subscribers make on average seven more calls and send 42 more texts per week than the population as a whole. They also spend more time online; young adults who use the internet do so for 21 more minutes per week than the UK average and at least 70% of them have used websites for keeping up contacts (against 41% of all adults).

These are the ‘children of the internet age’, many of whom have never known a life without home computers, games consoles, mobile phones and online connectivity.

They are accustomed to more ‘on-demand’ delivery of services: they want to contact their friends whenever and however is most convenient; they expect to watch TV programmes and listen to radio stations which interest them; they want to create their own online presence, and connect directly to others with similar tastes and interests.

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