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Average time spent watching TV is on the rise

New report also reveals mobile phone ownership


A widescreen television

The aspect ratio of digital TV is suited to widescreen TVs

Television viewers watch an average 3.8 hours per day, a report out today says.

The 2006 figure increased by an average one hour per person per week compared to the previous year, according to Ofcom.

People in the North East watched the most television last year at an average 4.2 hours per day.

Viewers in London, Northern Ireland and the ITV West region spent the least time in front of the TV, watching on average 3.3 hours per person per day.

The figures are included in Ofcom’s ‘communications market report for the nations and regions of the UK’, published today.

Viewing share

It says the viewing share of ITV’s digital-only channels – ITV2, 3 and 4 – rose by 2.8 percentage points between 2002 and 2006.

This outpaced the BBC’s 1.3 percentage point growth in viewer share – and Channel 4’s at 1.4 percentage points – over the same period.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, said the ‘digital divide’ in take-up of broadband and digital television between the regions has decreased compared to 2005.

Research into mobile phone use showed 81 per cent of people in urban areas owned a handset, compared to 80 per cent in rural areas.

People living in rural areas were more likely to have a fixed line phone than those in urban areas, at 94 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.

Rural phone lines

Ofcom said research had been carried out earlier this year to examine take-up and demand for communications services in the UK’s rural areas compared to towns and cities.

‘It confirms last year’s findings that take-up of certain communications services (notably digital television, broadband and 3G mobile) is lower in rural areas,’ the report says.

But the lower take-up is only down to lack of availability in a small minority of cases, it adds.

Wales has the highest number of Wi-Fi hotspots per million people than anywhere else in the UK, Germany, the USA and Japan.

Wi-Fi hotspots provide wireless internet access direct to the user’s computer.

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