10 planning insights from the Ofcom Communication Report 2017

Ofcom’s latest report is packed with data and analysis. It should be part of your marketing, media or public relations planning toolkit.

The Ofcom Communication Report 2017 tells the story of changing media consumption and behaviours in the UK. The 240 page report is packed with data and analysis.

I’ve lifted some of the highlights relevant to my day job. There will almost certainly be something of interest here for you.

#1 Broadband adoption close to saturation

Take-up of fixed broadband in the home has increased since last year; more than eight in ten (82%) households now have a fixed broadband connection, compared to 79% in 2016. The proportion of households with fixed telephony (82%) and mobile telephony (96%) remained relatively stable in 2017.

#2 Over the top television

The availability of a wide range of on-demand and streaming services combined with the increase in take-up of fixed broadband (82% of UK households in 2017, compared to 72% in 2012) and portable devices (76% and 58% of people used a smartphone and tablet in 2017 compared to 39% and 11% in 2012) is giving us the freedom to watch what we want, when we want, wherever we want to watch it.

#3 Box set Britain

Eight in ten adults in the UK (79%) – or 40 million people – use catch-up technology such as BBC iPlayer, or subscription services such as Netflix, to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting, wiping out the wait for next week’s instalment. One third (35%) do so every week, and more than half (55%) do it monthly.

#4 Watching TV on different devices

More than half (54%) of adult respondents said they liked the freedom of being able to watch when and where they wanted on their tablet or smartphone. This is particularly notable among the younger age groups: 81% of 12 to 15s and 83% of those aged 16 to 24 agree with this statement. Although this is not entirely the preserve of the young, with 28% of over-64s also agreeing.

#5 Growth of social media and messaging

Facebook is the most popular social media, with seven in ten (72%) UK adults claiming that they either use and/ or have a profile on this site. This is followed by WhatsApp and YouTube (both at 42%), Twitter (35%), Instagram (23%) and LinkedIn (21%). Less than 20% of adults used and/or had a profile on all the other sites asked about.

#6 Fake content

Only 16% of all respondents agreed that is easy to recognise if an online image or video is real or truthful, while 44% respondents disagreed, and 10% said they did not know. The younger age groups (18 to 24s and 25 to 34s) are more likely than all adults to be confident that they can recognise if an image or video is real or truthful, while over-54s are less likely.

#7 ‘Sharenting’

More than half (56%) of parents don’t indulge in so-called ‘sharenting’, the practice of sharing pictures of children on social media. Among those who do not share, the main reason (87%) is a wish to keep their children’s lives private. In contrast, 42% of parents do share photos of their children, and half of these share photos at least once a month.

#8 Generation #selfie

More than a third (34%) of those aged 18 to 24 say the pictures they post and share most often are selfies – more so than landscapes/buildings (32%) and holidays (31%). But among the wider population, holidays are still the most popular online snaps (24%).

#9 Faking it online

Almost three-quarters (74%) are cynical about the photos that other people post. Seven in ten say other people’s photos offer a ‘rose-tinted’ view of that person, or make their life appear more exciting than it is. This view is strikingly high among younger people – 85% of 18 to 24s, and 88% of 25 to 34s, agree with it, compared to only 65% of over-55s.

#10 Social media envy

Although we recognise that photos posted on social media may not be realistic, viewing these photos can have a negative impact. One third (32%) say looking at other people’s photos makes them feel that their life doesn’t match up, rising to more than half (53%) of 18 to 24s.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

One Comment

  1. Thanks Stephen nice summary. One thing that stood out for me – the rise in over 75s having internet access at home compared to 2016. That combined with the relatively fewer channels this demographic consumed makes this even more relevant

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