On 3 August 2017 Ofcom published its annual Communications Market Report (the "Report"). The Report incorporates statistics and a review of the communications sector (including broadcast television and radio, fixed and mobile telephony, internet uptake and consumption and the postal service) and acts as a reference for industry, stakeholders, academics and consumers.

A variety of data sources were used to prepare the Report, including Ofcom's technology tracker, its residential consumer postal tracking survey and research conducted specifically for the report (e.g. the Changing TV Landscape Report prepared by Broadcaster's Audience Research Board ("BARB")). The Report consolidates the results of these sources to provide information on developments in the sector over the past five years, with a particular focus on any changes since the last Communications Market Report was issued in 2016.

The Report emphasises the on-going changes in the sector, particularly how the growing uptake of faster fixed and mobile data services is impacting consumers' choice over how, where and when they communicate with others, watch or listen to content services, seek information, purchase and participate in the digital world.

Some of the key media and entertainment related findings include:

  • Whilst live broadcast TV remains a key central component of TV viewing, consumers are increasingly using different services and types of content to meet different needs. The most common use of live broadcast TV is now to keep up with the news or to provide "background noise".

  • Public service broadcasters continue to retain more than half of the total broadcast TV audience in 2016 but video-on-demand subscription is growing. Notably the young watch broadcast TV less than the old.

  • Consumers are now supplementing their traditional linear content consumption with broadcasters' on-demand and streaming services, recorded TV and paid-for streaming.

  • The shift in consumption mentioned above has largely been facilitated by the fact that 88% of adults now have internet access at home, up for 86% in 2016. Internet access has also increased for over-75s, from 45% in 2016 to 53% in 2017.

  • Four in ten UK internet users consider smartphones to be their primary device for accessing the internet, increasing from three in ten in 2016. The largest uptake of devices has been of smart TVs which almost four in ten households now owning one.

  • Spend on network content by UK broadcasters rose to £7.3bn in 2016, up from £6.6bn in 2015. This rise was heavily driven by the 24% increase in spending on sports channels.

  • Broadcast television revenues increased by £0.1 billion to £13.3 billion in 2016 with online AV services creating an additional £1.7 billion of revenue. Net advertising revenues are included in the £13.3 billion and have exceeded £4 billion for the second consecutive year despite the continued growth of internet advertising.

For further details click here for the full report.