Digital devices set to take over as UK spends less time watching TV

For the first time, 2014 is going to be the year that UK consumers spend more time using digital media devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones than they do watching television.

That news comes courtesy of eMarketer, the industry research firm that has drawn up estimates of media consumption among UK adults this year – and the growth of mobile holds the key.

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According to eMarketer, the average UK adult will spend more than 8.5 hours a day consuming media, of which 3 hours 41 will be online, non-voice mobile activities or other digital devices.

The growth of mobile has fuelled this shift in trends, although time spent using desktops/laptops "is plateauing". In comparison, a mere 3 hours 15 will be spent by adults watching television.

eMarketer said the total figure "reflects simultaneous media consumption" – that means an hour spent using a smartphone while watching television is counted as an hour for both activity.

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But the increases in time spent consuming digital media won't be consistent across all channels, with time spent online via a desktop or laptop computer expected to grow just four minutes.

It's the time spent using mobile devices, however, that seen significant growth. In fact, it has now come to represent more than half the total time that UK adults spend watching television.

eMarketer said we use our smartphones for nearly an hour a day, but tablets are closing the gap – in percentage terms, the devices account for 11.3% and 8.5% of our day respectively.

A spokesperson for eMarketer said: "The growth of mobile is key to this shift, as it continues to drive both digital and overall growth of time spent with all media."

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by Pete Hayman

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Pete was content editor on What Hi-Fi?, overseeing production and publication of digital content. In creating and curating feature articles for web and print consumption, he provided digital and editorial expertise and support to help reposition What Hi-Fi? as a ‘digital-first’ title; reflecting the contemporary media trends. He is now a senior content strategist.