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Media Literacy: Ofcom's reports on Media Use and Attitudes towards Media

posted on 21 April, 2016   (public)

Media Literacy: Ofcom's reports on Media Use and Attitudes towards Media

On 21 April 2016, Ofcom has published two research reports on how people use, understand and relate to different media in the UK.

The first report, Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes, provides detailed insight into media use, attitudes and understanding among UK adults aged 16 and over, covering TV, radio, mobile, games and the internet, with a particular focus on the latter. The main findings of the report include:

  • A considerable rise (10 percentage points over a year to 16%) in the proportion of adults, who only use smartphones or tablets to go online, rather than a PC or laptop. This indicates that these devices are not just supplementing PCs and laptops, but are starting to replace them;
  • A sizeable increase (11 percentage points over a year to 42%) in the proportion of internet users who say they only use websites or apps that they have used before. This trend, which is particularly prominent in over 25s, points to a narrowing use of the internet, with people focusing on content and apps that they use regularly;
  • Seven in ten adults now use a smartphone, the device most used for accessing social media and the preferred device for the majority of online activities. Mobile phones have become the media device people would miss most, overtaking the television set;
  • Half of adults (51%) that use search engines are not aware that the top items on many results pages are adverts or sponsored links, indicating there is a need for people to be more aware or savvy about the content they are accessing online.

The second report, UK Audience Attitudes towards Broadcast Media explores adults’ attitudes and opinions towards television and radio broadcasting, and related areas such as programme standards, advertising and regulation. It summarises the findings set out in the accompanying chart pack analysis of the research results. The key findings of the report are:

  • UK adults’ opinion of the quality of television programmes has remained unchanged since 2014, with half of viewers (50%) feeling that the quality of programming has stayed the same;
  • Nearly a third of adults (30%) feel that programme quality had worsened – again unchanged since 2014. The main reasons cited were more repeats (65%), lack of variety (38%), overall lack of quality (32%) and too many reality shows (28%);
  • Levels of personal offence of TV programming have remained relatively low, at one fifth of adults. The top three types of content most likely to cause offence to viewers were sexual content (38%), violence (37%) and bad language (37%);
  • The most common reaction towards material considered offensive was to switch over to a different channel (50%). One in five (21%) reacted by switching off the TV completely, or by discussing it with others (22%), while 16% continued to watch;
  • Nine in ten adults are aware of the 9pm watershed and the majority (60%) still consider 9pm to be an acceptable time for programmes unsuitable for children to be broadcast.

Source: Ofcom Website