Ofcom report says smartphones are responsible for rise in media multi-tasking

Brits spend half their time online or watching TV

Britons spend almost half their waking hours watching TV or on the internet, a report by communications body Ofcom has found.

The study also found that consumers often multi-task while consuming media, with the average person fitting an average of eight hours and 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours each day. Ofcom puts this down to rising smartphone ownership and the falling cost of mobile contracts and bundles.

Around a quarter of the waking day is spent on the internet on social networking sites, while about three hours and 45 minutes are spent watching TV.

Peter Phillips of Ofcom said: “Increasingly, mobile devices – especially smartphones – are used for multimedia, but live evening TV still remains the main entertainment event of the day.

“Younger people have shown the biggest changes in how we use media – particularly using different media at the same time. But the divide between younger and older people’s use of technology is starting to narrow as more older people are getting online and finding that things like email are very important to them.

Smartphone ownership is up 81 per cent from 7.2 million users in May 2009 to 12.8 million in May 2010. In June this year, over a quarter of Brits said they owned a smartphone, more than double 2008’s figures.

Surfing the internet via mobile phones is the fastest growing mobile media activity with one million new users during the first quarter of 2010, and Facebook accounted for almost half of the time spent online via mobiles in December.

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