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Ofcom report: 30 stats on smartphones and internet use

August 4th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Mobile

Ofcom today (4 August) released its TV, radio, broadband, telecoms and mobile industries report, noting significant changes over the “digital decade” since 2001.

Here is the 341 page Communications Market Report boiled down to a list of 30 facts and figures that are relevant to publishers.

Smartphones

1. More than a quarter of adults (27 per cent) own a smartphone;

2. Almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) own a smartphone;

3. Nine out of 10 people (91 per cent) own a mobile phone;

4. Three in 10 mobile phones are smartphones;

5. Most people with smartphones (59 per cent) acquired their device in the past year.

Internet use

6. More than a quarter of people use their mobile phones for internet access. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2011, 28 per cent of UK adults claimed to do so;

7. Those aged 16-24 are more than 10 times more likely to go online via a mobile than those aged 55+;

8. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of homes are now connected to the internet;

9. For the first time household internet take-up (78 per cent) exceeded computer ownership (77 per cent) as a small proportion of households went online using mobile phones only;

10. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of households have a fixed broadband connection and 17 per cent have a mobile broadband (dongle) connection. In Q1 2011, 26 per cent of over-75s had home internet access, as did 55 per cent of 64-74 year-olds;

11. Consumers use a wide range of devices to access the internet at home. In 2010, 69 per cent said they accessed the internet at home via a laptop or PC, 31 per cent via a mobile phone;

12. Wifi routers were used by 75 per cent of broadband using households in Q1 2011;

13. More than half of all UK households are passed by super-fast broadband;

14. Google has more than three times the user base of any other search engine;

15. The leading blogging site is Google’s Blogger, which reached 8.2 million users in April 2011.

Facebook and other social networking

16. Social networking accounts for more than a fifth of all time spent on the internet;

17. People spend more than five times as much time on Facebook than on any other site;

18. More than 90 per cent of social networking time is spent on Facebook;

19. The most popular claimed use of the internet on mobile phones was social networking services (used by 57 per cent of mobile phone internet users);

20. Mobile users of Facebook spent an average of 5.6 hours on the site in December 2010 (11 minutes a day);

21. In Q1 2011, 46 per cent of UK adults claimed to use social networking services on a home internet connection. There are signs that the growth of social networking may be reaching saturation point: total time spent on social networking sites was just 1.3 per cent higher in April 2011 than in April 2010.

Smartphone brands

22. The Apple iPhone is the most popular brand of smartphone, but BlackBerry handsets are a favourite choice among younger consumers;

23. Apple’s iPhone has a 32 per cent share among adults. This is the brand of choice among ABC1s (37 per cent) and is even higher among ABs alone (44 per cent). But BlackBerry handsets have also taken a significant share of the market (24 per cent) and are particularly popular among younger adults and teens (37 per cent each).

Advertising and commercial

24. More than a quarter of all UK advertising spend is on the internet. Advertising spend on the internet grew by 16 per cent in 2010, to more than £4 billion, accounting for 26 per cent of total advertising spend in the UK, marginally ahead of television;

25. Mobile advertising increased by 121 per cent in 2010 to reach £83 million;

26. In 2010, the mobile advertising market was only 2 per cent the size of the internet ad market. However, driven by increasing use of internet services on mobile phones, together with more sophisticated business models (for example, fully or partially advertising-funded mobile applications), mobile advertising revenue more than doubled during 2010. Search-based advertising increased by the greatest amount (172 per cent) and increased its share of mobile advertising from 54 per cent to 66 per cent;

27. Nearly three-quarters of internet users shop online. Visitors to coupon and reward sites increased by 25 per cent in the year to April 2011, when nearly 40 per cent of internet users visited at least one such site.

Apps

28. Just under half (47 per cent) of adult smartphone users have ever downloaded an app, with one in five (20 per cent) doing so regularly;

29. Regular apps downloaders are skewed male and age 25-34. Just over half (54 per cent) of apps downloaders have paid for an app – with their mean average maximum spend on a single app being £3 – £3.99;

30. Apps downloading is higher among teens than adults; around two-thirds (63 per cent) of teen smartphone users have ever downloaded an app, with one in four (28 per cent) doing so regularly. Six in ten (60 per cent) have paid for an app. The average maximum amount of spend among teens is £3.70 and the median is £3 – £3.99.

See a further 10 facts on mobile media.

All graphs taken from the Ofcom report.

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FT sees 150,000 uses of new web-app in first 10 days

The Financial Times’ new web-based app has been viewed 150,000 times since its launch 10 days ago, which includes 100,000 hits in the first week of launch, the FT said in a media release today.

The FT is the first major news publisher to launch this type of HTML5 hybrid app, which can be viewed across a number of different smartphone and tablet devices.

Steve Pinches, FT group product head, said the app has received very positive feedback.

“Comments include recognition of the technical capabilities of the app and being at the cutting edge of technology. Users have also expressed appreciation for the improved speed of the app and look and feel enhancements when using on the iPhone.”

He explained where the app is heading.

“We will take a two-fold approach to improvements to the app. Firstly we will focus on adding new content to the existing app, including special reports, newspaper graphics and the ability to save articles for later. Secondly we will develop the app for other devices including Honeycomb, Samsung and BlackBerry Playbook.

“Our next priority is releasing the app for Android devices, both large and small screen. Following that we will work on an FT web app for BlackBerry Playbook.”

Initial analysis shows the ‘Companies’ section of the web-app is the most popular, followed by the Life and Arts section, which makes up around 10 per cent of consumption overall. Other popular features include Markets Data, World, Markets and Lex.

“Interestingly, we are seeing much more leisure-type usage, with user peaks early morning, evening and around lunch time. This suggests that as well as a core tool for use during the business day, like FT.com on a desktop, the app is an accessory being used on the way to and from work and planning for the day ahead.”

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Mobile plans for London Evening Standard announced at Mobile World Congress

February 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The Standard will launch an application for smartphones later this month, an announcement by developers Handmark to coincide with this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

According to the launch release, “content within the London Evening Standard mobile application will be refreshed automatically and available for offline reading”.

Handmark’s mobile publishing platform has already been used by Thomson Reuters, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

There are no details about the cost of the app – the Standard’s print edition went free in October.

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WSJ confirms paid-for access to news on mobile

September 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Online Journalism

News Corp’s Dow Jones has confirmed speculation from earlier this week and announced that the Wall Street Journal will now charge for full access to its content via Blackberry, iPhone and iPod touch devices.

According to a press release, the WSJ applications will remain free to download for each device and continue to offer a mixture of free and subscription content.

The new access model will be introduced from October 24 and hopes to expand the paying audience for Dow Jones’ content by highlighting the specialist, time-sensitive nature of its news.

“Our new mobile subscription model will enable us to continue to invest in the world’s most essential news content and deliver it to our subscribers wherever and whenever they want it,” said Gordon McLeod, president of the Wall Street Journal digital network, in the release.

“This transition also reinforces the value of our content on mobile, just as we’ve done online for more than a decade.”

Full access to the site from these applications will cost $2 per week for a mobile-only subscription. A subscription to mobile and the WSJ in print or online will cost $1 a week.

Print and online subscribers will have free access to content via the smartphone apps.

Full access to the site’s mobile site will only be granted to WSJ.com subscribers, the release added.

Today UK website the Spectator announced it would introduced a range of subscription packages for its website with immediate effect.

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Jon Bernstein: Why ITV’s micropayment plan is unlikely to make the Grade

July 15th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Online Journalism

ITV management had better hope Ben Bradshaw’s deeds are as good as his words, because its faith in an another revenue-generating scheme looks misplaced.

Bradshaw, the recently appointed Culture Secretary, told the Financial Times earlier this week that the BBC’s refusal to relinquish licence fee money to aid other broadcasters with a public service remit was ‘wrong-headed’. He said the corporation’s hierarchy would have to come to its senses sooner or later.

While the BBC fights the good fight against ‘ideological’ forces such as these, part of the network gave airtime to a would-be recipient of top-slicing: ITV’s executive chairman, Michael Grade.

On BBC Five Live last Thursday, Simon Mayo asked Grade about the YouTube Susan Boyle affair (some 200 million video views to date).

After describing YouTube’s proposed revenue-share for the Boyle clips as ‘derisory’, Grade insisted ITV wouldn’t get caught out again:

“We are working on it and watch this space, but we’re all going to crack it, either when the advertising market recovers or a combination of advertising and micropayments which is 50p a time or 25p a time to watch it.

“We may move in time, in the medium term, to micropayments, the same way you pay for stuff on your mobile phone. I think we can make that work extremely well.”

(You can listen to the interview on the iPlayer until midnight Wednesday 15 July. Grade interviews starts around 1 hour, 22 minutes.)

Despite Grade’s confidence there are grave doubts that paying per clip is going to work. Here are four reasons to worry:

1. Micropayments don’t work for perishable goods
It’s an argument that has been made against charging for news stories, but it is equally applicable when you are talking about clips from a reality TV programme.

Quality drama may have a shelf-life and an audience willing to pay for it, but a water cooler moment from reality TV? Not likely.

The Susan Boyle phenomenon still feels vaguely current, but it is a passing fad.

If you’re unconvinced take this quick, highly unscientific test: would you pay 50p to watch the machinations of ‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman from the first series of Big Brother?

The correct answer: who’s ‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman?

2. Micropayments put people off
Writing back in 1996, social scientist Nick Szabo introduced the idea of mental transaction costs. He argued that no matter how small the payment, it still incurs effort on behalf of the potential buyer to work out if he or she is getting a good deal.

He wrote:

“The reason we don’t do the things is that they’re not worth the brain cycles: we have reached the mental accounting barrier.”

And that in a nutshell is why micropayments are doomed to failure.

It’s a theme Chris Anderson touched on in his recently released book ‘Free: The Future of a Radical Price‘. He wrote:

“It’s the worst of both worlds – the mental tax of a larger price without the commensurate cash. (Szabo was right: Micropayments have largerly failed to take off.)”

Unsurprisingly, Anderson advocates free as a preferable alternative to micro, but he’s not alone. New York professor Clay Shirky is with him.

In fact Shirky has been saying much the same thing since the beginning of the decade and his 2003 essay ‘Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content‘ has become something of a set text.

3. Micropayments only work if you control distribution
ITV’s Grade rightly cites mobile phones as a great platform for micropayments.

The network operator controls what is available via the handset, limiting availability and ensuring prices won’t be undercut.

Further, the operator offers a simple and largely pain-free way of paying for goods by adding the cost to a monthly bill or subtracting it from a top-up on a pay-as-you-go phone.

But the web is different – it’s anarchic, open, a free-for-all.

Nobody controls distribution and despite efforts to chase down copyright abusers, there will always be someone ready to undercut your micropayment with an even smaller charge – free.

Opponents of this reading cite Apple’s iTunes Music Store as proof that micropayments can work on the net. But, as Shirky argued earlier this year, the fee-per-track model works because this is a rare example where no alternative exists.

“Everything from Napster to online radio has been crippled or killed by fiat; small payments survive in the absence of a market for other legal options.”

Further, Apple does control part of the distribution, successfully creating a market for the must-have iPod.

So despite Grade’s assertion, it’s unlikely any micropayment system on the internet will turn out ‘the same way you pay for stuff on mobile phones’.

Incidentally, it will be worth watching to see how the smartphone redefines this divide between the largely ordered phone network and the web.

4. YouTube clips drive traffic first, revenues second
If you think about a clip on YouTube as a direct money maker, you’ve got your priorities wrong.

It’s about reach, exposure and promotion. It’s about creating a buzz and driving traffic back to the core.

Did the Susan Boyle clip achieve this? No question.

For starters, video views at ITV.com were up 528 per cent year-on-year and advertising slots for the duration of the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ season sold out.

Meanwhile, such was the interest around the show, the final was seen by 19.2 million people – ITV’s highest audience since England vs. Sweden in the 2006 World Cup. More eyeballs this year promises high advertising yields next.

In short YouTube kept its part of the bargain.

Would all that have happened had ITV charged 25p a clip? Would 200 million people have checked it out? Will a pay-per-clip Britain’s Got Talent be a winner?

The twist in the tale is that Grade, who steps down as executive chairman at the end of the year, won’t be around to find out.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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