TV turn-off for young people as internet popularity continues to grow

YOUNG people are turning away from television, and, in particular programmes such as news and current affairs, according to the latest research issued by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

According to the regulatory authority, 16-24 year-olds watch an hour less TV per day than the average viewer. And of the television they do watch, an even smaller proportion of their time is spent viewing ‘public service broadcasting’ channels, down from 74 per cent of total viewing among this age group five years ago to 58 per cent today.

Instead, the internet plays a central role in their daily life; more than 70 per cent of 16-24 year-old internet users use social networking websites (compared to 41 per cent of all UK internet users) and 37 per cent of 18-24 year-olds have contributed to a blog or website message board (compared to 14 per cent of all UK internet users).

Young people are also tuning in less to radio and away from newspapers.

Says Ofcom: “Extensive use of the internet has also influenced 15-24 year olds’ consumption of other media. Their radio listening is lower, by an average of 15 minutes a day compared to the wider population; additionally, 27 per cent of those surveyed said they read newspapers less as a consequence of their online usage.”

In general, the number of households with broadband connections increased by 63 per cent between two years ago and last year, to a total of nine million, and the number of households with digital television also increased by 18 per cent between March last year and March this year, to a total of 18.3 million.

Ofcom also found that online advertising continues to grow in importance as a mass marketing medium, attracting significant revenues away from other media.