Number of homes with TV falls as tablets rise
James R | On 10, Dec 2014
The number of homes with a TV has fallen for the first time, according to Ofcom, as viewers tune into tablets and smartphones instead.
surprising figures from the regulator show that, after years and years of growth, the number of households with a telly dropped in 2013 from 26.33m (2012) to 26.02m.
In other words, 310,000 fewer homes had a TV set. This may be because they stopped watching TV – heaven forfend! – but Ofcom’s statistics also reveal that almost 1m UK homes have broadband with no TV, which shows that more people are streaming content to other devices instead.
Indeed, catch-up TV is increasingly important, says the regulator – a fact backed io by the steadily rising usage of BBC iPlayer every month. With phones, tablets and computers able to access these services, one might argue, who needs a telly? It’s no coincidence that the BBC reported in July 2014 that a record 47 per cent of iPlayer views came from mobile deuces, with tablets overtaking computers on multiple several occasions.
“The way consumers interact with their TV, phone and broadband is changing as fast as technology,” comments Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards.
Just how much are people streaming into their homes? Ofcom clocks the average household or small business download at the equivalent of 35 feature films every month – a whopping 77 per cent rise from last year.
Ofcom now estimates that a typical household would need a broadband speed of at least 10Mb to support all of this streaming. Indeed, the UK is making a concerted effort to improve its broadband infrastructure so that superfast connections are available across the country.
“Communications providers are looking at ways to take fibre closer to the customer where there is no cabinet,” adds Ofcom.
“Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future. As a country we are continuing to make real progress, particularly in the roll out and take-up of superfast broadband and 4G mobile services. But there is more to be done. We need to continue asking whether collectively we are doing enough to build the infrastructure of the future, and to maintain the competition that benefits consumers and businesses.”