All Posts in Ofcom

April 17, 2015Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Ofcom considers deregulation to take growing power of internet into account

The shift to digital in recent years has meant an uphill challenge for British communications regulator, Ofcom, as it seeks to adapt its own regulations to the changing media and telecoms landscape.

Credit: Ofcom

Picture Credit: Ofcom

In her first interview since being appointed as Ofcom's chief in December, Sharon White said that deregulation and a lighter approach needs to be considered to reflect the tectonic shifts in how people read and watch content, as well as talk.

Ofcom has just begun its first review of the British communications market in a decade to take into account the burgeoning impact of the internet, and whether market definitions and regulations need to be redrawn. Ofcom would also need to consider the intersection and blurring distinctions between traditional telecom and media companies.

Live streaming services such as Meerkat and Periscope both present a challenge to the paid-TV world especially with the increasing costs of football rights, for example. While Ofcom traditionally appointed the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) to regulate broadcast advertisements on its behalf, YouTube advertising also falls under the ASA's jurisdiction - the roles both perform and the areas overseen need to be made clearer in this era of greater convergence.

Ten years after its last review and in the age of the internet, the time is now ripe for Ofcom to reconsider regulations especially when changes are unprecedented and happen at much greater speed. It's exciting times ahead for the tech, media, and communications industries and we can't wait to see what happens next.


October 13, 2014Published by: Drew

New research by Ofcom shows social media usage of children and parents

Ofcom media children - social media

Ofcom has released new statistics on media consumption amongst children and parents. The report is vast and contains hundreds of pages of data, but the social media research in particular is useful.

The findings show that 70% of children aged 12-15 in the UK who go online have a social media profile, and that figure is 20% for 8-11 year olds, and 5% of 5-7 year olds.

The full report is available through charts and / or the raw data here. Thanks to Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz for the link.

August 7, 2014Published by: Drew

5 graphs worth reading: the social media sections in Ofcom’s new UK media and comms report

Ofcom's 11th annual Communications Market Report was released this morning, looking at media consumption and communications trends across the UK. These fresh stats are well-worth a read, and we've gone through them all to flag up the key findings for you.

Section 4 of the report is about the web and internet. You can view it online in full here. The overview / full report is also worth a skim read, and do a search for your favourite topics / keywords to zoom into the right section - it's 180 pages long.

Our first highlight is in the data on why people use the web: social networking is the top media activity on the web, the second communications activity, and overall 5th behind surfing, emailing, banking and shopping. See chart below:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 06.58.10

'Techie teens are shaping the way we communicate' is one of the big conclusions drawn by Ofcom in the report. In other words, communications habits of teens are shaping those of everyone else. What's key here, we think, for comms types, is that understanding teen tech, digital and comms trends has a far greater impact than just on that demographic itself. It forms the trends across all other demographics too.

16-24s and ABC1s are the top audience on social media in the UK. See below:

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Broadly the research looks at social networks that have been around for a long time and therefore show up in many of the previous years reports, such as MySpace and Friends Reunited. Almost no mention of Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat for example. You can see this in section 4.43 onwards here and in the below chart.

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Types of messaging, social networking or other communications tools split by age and time of day is very interesting. Ofcom's data looks at WhatsApp, Snapchat and social media, and shows clearly how the 16-24 age demographic skews towards social, messaging apps and how email is imploding. See here and below.

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 07.18.44

Last highlight for us is the way children aged 6-15 are using the web, which is broken down in the below chart and in section 1.24 here.  Strangely though, this section is the only place we could see Instagram mentioned, which touches on a general trend in this research, which is that it glazes over many of the big, current social networking sites, and only really goes in-depth into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, MySpace and Friends Reunited usage. Something we think is a missed opportunity not only for this year's data but also for comparable stats next year and onwards.

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Well done nonetheless Ofcom on creating such a broad body of work and making it available in full online.