Ofcom looks back at 10 years of changing media habits

The past decade has been tough for many established media players; with commentators often being quick to point the finger at failures in strategy, product development or long-term investment.

But, perhaps, such judgements are a little unforgiving.

If Marty McFly had stepped off his hoverboard and driven his DeLorean back from 2015 to 2005 (instead of 1985, as he does in Back to the Future II,) he would still have found a media and technological world quite different from today. In just ten years major parts of our media landscape have changed dramatically. So much so, that it’s no wonder that not everyone can keep up.

A new study from Ofcom, the UK Communications Regulator, helps to paint this picture by reminding us just how much media habits have changed in the past decade.

As you would expect, their analysis charts the rise of smartphones, the growth of social media and the increasingly ubiquitous internet experience.

However, it also outlines some more surprising trends too; from the rise in gaming to a levelling off in smartphone and tablet adoption.

In a stark reminder of how far we’ve come, we discover that:

  • In 2005 the most popular driver for having a mobile phone was ‘for emergencies’. 56% of all mobile owners cited this reason, rising to 82% for those aged 65+.
  • 3G mobile was used by only 11% of mobile phone owners; and
  • Half of adults said newspapers were their main source for seeing what was on TV.

Meanwhile, smartphone embedded technologies such as mp3 players, digital cameras and camcorders were “very much considered [and reported as] standalone devices,” Ofcom notes.

Given this dramatic pace of change, should we be a little more forgiving about the digital pickle some media companies continue to find themselves in? 

Go back in time to see the way we were – and how much has changed – HERE<<<

Humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. What does that mean for advertisers?

We recently published an analysis of two new studies from Microsoft, exploring consumer attention in digital markets across the UK and Canada; alongside further insights from Owen Sagness, general manager, advertising and online at Microsoft UK.

Designed with advertisers in mind, the new research, Sagness told us, reflects “how digital behaviours have changed – with attention spans being just one of the many factors that marketers need to consider when creating advertising content.”

The study found that audience attention is influenced by the volume, intensity and style of media consumption; and that “consumers are training their brains in response to technology usage, in order to become better at processing information and getting things done.”

“The research,” Sagness argues, “highlights a need for brands to create ad experiences that are in tune with shifting audience behaviours.” 

These behaviours are not always constant, but evolve depending on activities and time of day. Not surprisingly, lifestyle and age considerations also make a difference.

Understanding consumers’ digital day is essential to being able to target them, and the study offers a series of recommendations on how advertisers can harness this learning.

Read more about Microsoft’s findings and what it means for you HERE<<<


What we’re reading

Daily Mail, WPP and Snapchat to launch native advertising agencyThe agency, called Truffle Pig, aims to combine the “best of global agency, newsroom and social media talent”.

Quartz launches Atlas: a new platform for discovering and sharing their rather nice charts.

Facebook To Outline New Ad Formats for Mobile: Not surprising when “mobile accounted for 73% of the company’s advertising revenues during the first three months of 2015,” the WSJ reports, “up from just 30% for the same quarter in 2013.”

The above articles are original TheMediaBriefing analysis, and initially published in our daily morning newsletter. 

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