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Brits spend 45% of day using phones and communication devices

Handsets used for media multi-tasking

Brits spend 45 percent of their day using mobile phones and other communication devices, says Ofcom.

Research by the watchdog revealed four times as many texts were sent in 2009 compared to 2008.

Media multi-tasking – or using several different types of media at the same time, for example taking a phonecall while surfing the web – accounts for 20 percent of all media consumed throughout the day. Ofcom said on average, Brits cram 8 hours 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours in one day.

Brits use smartphones such as Apple's iPhone for media multi-tasking

Media multi-tasking is more common in younger generations with 29 percent of 16 to 24s admitting to consuming media simultaneously compared to just 12 percent of over 55s. However, Men spend nearly an hour more per day using different types of media than women.

The majority of Brits also use one device, which Ofcom said was commonly their mobile phone, for more than one type of media and communications use.

In June this year more than a quarter (26.5 percent) of Brits said they owned a smartphone, which is double the number two years ago. During Q1 of 2010, 23 percent of Brits accessed web content or emails from their handset, compared to 20 percent in the same period of 2009.

Ofcom also said 13.5 million mobile phone owners used their handset to access the web during the first quarter of 2010, compared to 9 million the previous year.

Facebook was named the most popular mobile internet site, with 45 percent of all online time on mobiles in December 2009 spent on the social network.

Social networking accounts for nearly a quarter of all time spent on the internet (23 percent) compared to just nine percent in 2007. The average Facebook user spent 6 and 30 minutes on the social network during May 2010.

Ofcom also said the average Brit spends three hours and 45 minutes every day watching live TV, while 31 percent of UK homes accessed an online catch-up TV service during Q1 of 2010, that's eight percent more than the previous year.

Meanwhile 22 percent of Brits admitted to having bought a HD-ready TV set in the last 12 months.

Despite the increase in communication, Ofcom said it accounts for less of their total household expenditure - 4.4 percent in 2009 compared to 4.6 percent in 2008. The watchdog said the trend for purchasing bundled services eg telephone, internet and TV from one supplier, attributed to the decrease in household spend.

Half of all UK households now buy two or more services from a single provider compared to 29 per cent in 2005, while 70 percent of those that buy bundled services says it was because it was cheaper.

"For the first time we can see just how central media and communications are to our lives – on average we use them for nearly half our waking hour," said Peter Phillips from Ofcom

"Consumers are using communications services more – phone calls, texting and the internet. Yet they are paying less despite getting more, partly through buying in bundles."

See also: Ofcom: average broadband speed is 5.2Mbps


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