Nation embracing on-demand TV states Ofcom

Britons are rapidly changing the way they watch television, with the amount of people viewing via the web increasing dramatically in 2007, along with a steep rise in the take up of on-demand services such as Sky+.

According to Ofcom's annual report on the communications industry, the number of people watching television programmes online doubled over the year from 8% to 17% and nearly a third of internet users watched video clips and webcasts online, compared to 21% in 2006.

This figure is likely to increase exponentially in 2008, following the full launch of BBC iPlayer last Christmas.

Digital video recorder ownership rocketed by 53% in 2007 with nearly 6m households now using the technology. Ofcom reports that 88% of people who own DVRs say that they use them to fast forward through advertising.

The figures also show that during 2007 the average adult spent seven hours and nine minutes a day using various communications services -- six minutes more than in 2002. This includes radio listening, television viewing, time spent online, texting or talking on the telephone.

The greatest increase in use is unsurprisingly with mobiles and the internet. Between 2002 and 2007 the time spent talking or texting has doubled from five minutes to 10 minutes a day.

The average amount of time spent using computers has grown from six minutes a day to 24 minutes. This is reflected in the fact that in 2007 advertisers spent more money getting their brands online than on ITV1, Channel 4, Five and S4C for the first time.

At the same time, a household's average monthly spend on communications is down by 1.6% on 2006, at £93.63 a month. Ofcom attributed this to discounts from bundles, with people buying more than one service from telecoms companies, lower broadband prices and a trend for bargain hunting. In total, the communications industry is worth £51bn.

Peter Phillips, partner for strategy and marketing development at Ofcom, said: "We are spending more and more time with our communications devices but spending less on them.

"Our devotion to watching, listening and staying in touch wherever and whenever we want shows no sign of diminishing and, with healthy competition, overall prices offer increasing value for money."

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