UK leads global internet TV use

BRITAIN has become a nation of online shoppers and internet television addicts, dedicating more time and money to those activities than any other nation.

Research released today from Ofcom, the communications regulator, will reveal that UK citizens spend more than £1,000 a year online – hundreds more than other countries – and that a greater proportion of us use online TV services such as the BBC’s iPlayer, than those in other nations.

The research also shows that, on average, Brits are amongst the keenest adopters of technology such as big-screen high-definition TVs, smartphones, and social networking such as Facebook.

The research demonstrates the rapid shifts in how people are consuming content. One in four Brits use online TV – including film streaming services such as Netflix – every week, while one in six owns an internet-connected “smart” TV and four in ten own a set-top box for recording video.

Brits are also particularly enthusiastic users of smartphones and tablets – 16 per cent of web traffic comes via the devices. The average smartphone user in the UK also uses more mobile data per month than in other countries, despite the rollout of high-speed 4G mobile internet services lagging behind the likes of the US and France.

James Thickett, Ofcom’s director of research, put the UK’s appetite for TV catchup services down to the early launch of technology such as iPlayer, as well as improved broadband coverage.

However, he did add that Britain is lagging behind others in the rollout of internet protocol television, in which channels are beamed into a TV via an internet connection.