The latest report from telecoms regulator Ofcom is full of surprising facts and figures pointing to the gradual transformation of the traditional living room of our parents and grandparents into a digital media hub. Think that seeing a tweet from your grandpa and grandma after a popular TV show is hardly possible? Well, think again after reading this.
British families continue to gather around to watch TV in the living room, but a great number of digital tools are now entering this intimate space to catch their attention. According to the watchdog’s Communications Market Report 2013, TV watching is now accompanied by streaming videos, sending instant messages and updating profiles on social media, often via a mobile device. Ofcom has calculated that more than half of UK adults now own a smartphone – nearly double the percentage estimated two years ago.
Some 25% of Britons are using more than one media platform while watching TV, with 16% talking on the phone, 17% sending messages to say what they are watching and 11% using social networks or apps (3%) to have direct communication with programmes. The impact of “media meshing” was particularly strong during the 2013 Wimbledon Men’s tennis final, when 1.1 million people across the globe generated 2.6 million tweets using hashtags related to the game.
Britons also use their mobiles for activities that have nothing to do with the TV programme they are watching, such as browsing the net, social networking and buying products online, Ofcom also found.
Despite the profound changes driven by digital devices, the TV set remains the most important device in the living room, with 41% of UK consumers now owning more than one TV in their household against 35% about 10 years ago.