The Media in Figures: Media behaviour of older people

ADULTS aged 65 and over consume just over nine hours’ worth of media per day – according to research published by the broadcaster regulators, Ofcom.

Ways the media watchdog, older people spend less time on media and communications each day, and undertake less media multi-tasking than the average adult, but still compress 9 hours 16 minutes of media activity each day into 8 hours 15 minutes.

Other key findings include:

* Older people spend half of their total media time on ‘watching’ activities. This compares to two-fifths (39 per cent) among all adults. This is taken up almost entirely by live or recorded TV viewed on a TV set.

* Adults aged 65 and over spend more time listening to the radio than any other age group. Fifteen per cent of total media time is spent listening to the radio on a radio set among this age group, compared to ten per cent among all adults. This amounts to one hour and 48 minutes per day, with this activity being most popular in the morning.

* Almost half of the time older adults spend communicating is via email. Adults aged 65+ spend more of their communications time emailing (28 minutes per day, or 40 minutes among those who use email) than on phone calls (19 minutes per day). Seven in ten older people read or sent emails in their diary week, similar to the proportion among all adults (77 per cent). However, time spent on text communications decreases with age. For all adults, 16 per cent of media time is spent engaged in this form of activity, compared to seven per cent for those aged over 65.

* Many of the ‘messaging’ activities are less used among older people. Those aged 65 and above are less inclined to use messaging functions than the general population, with a significantly smaller proportion of communication time assigned to text messaging (seven per cent), instant messaging (one per cent) and photo and video messaging (less than one per cent). Despite this, 11 per cent of their communication time was spent communicating through a social networking site. This equates to six minutes per day among all those 65+, but 31 minutes a day among social media users in this age group.

* Those aged 65 and over spend a greater proportion of their media time reading print media. This includes books, magazines or newspapers, in a digital or physical format. This activity accounts for six per cent of their media consumption, compared to two per cent of all adults.

• A quarter of adults aged 65+ use a tablet. Among all adults, 38 per cent used a tablet during the week compared to a quarter (24 per cent) of those aged 65+. This device accounted for two per cent of all time spent on media and communications by older people, similar to four per cent among all adults.

Source: Ofcom, ‘Digital Day 2014, Report on findings among older people’, published January 28 2015. Read more, here.