UK adults are spending a record 4 hours a day online, with distinct signs that the coronavirus lockdown is changing communications.
According to Ofcom’s annual online nation report, one in three now watch online video more than traditional TV, with two in five making videos themselves. However, the increased usage brings with it concerns over the content that is being view. Nine in 10 online adults have concerns around video-sharing sites and apps
The regulator says the proportion of UK online adults making video calls has also doubled during lockdown, with more than seven in 10 doing so at least weekly. Houseparty, which combines group video calls with games and quizzes grew from 175,000 adult visitors in January to 4 million in April. But the increase is far outstripped by virtual meeting platform Zoom. It grew from 659,000 UK adults to reach 13 million adults over the same period – a rise of almost 2,000%.
One third of online adults now spend more time viewing video-sharing services than broadcast television.
UK adult visitors to YouTube spent an average of 28 minutes 52 seconds on the site per day in September 2019; while 18-24s spent more than twice as long (one hour and five minutes). During lockdown (April 2020), the average daily time spent on YouTube increased to 43 minutes and 7 seconds among adult visitors, and to one hour 32 minutes among 18-24s, excluding the use of YouTube via TV platforms.
Content creation has also become a thing as 40% of adults and 59% of older children who use video-sharing sites and apps now create and upload their own videos, driving an explosion in short-form, user-generated content.