Ofcom research shows Smartphone boost for news

The number of people using smartphones to browse for news and information has more than doubled over the last year according to new Ofcom research.

Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report states that in April 2011, 23 per cent of mobile internet users claimed to access news and information every day compared to 10 per cent a year previously.

According to Ofcom, over a quarter of UK adults (27 per cent) and almost half of UK teenagers (47 per cent) now own a smartphone, with a third of mobile phone owners using their phones to access the internet.

The report also highlights activities that people claimed to be doing less since getting a smartphone: 13 per cent claimed to read a printed newspaper less, 10 per cent watch less TV and 9 per cent read less books.

Just under half of adult smartphone users (47 per cent) have downloaded an app onto their phone, with one in five (20 per cent) doing so regularly.

News apps appear in the top five most popular category of apps downloaded for free, along with games, social networking, music, maps and navigation. However, news apps do not feature in the top five paid-for apps.

A separate survey of over 2000 adults and 500 teenagers run by Kantar Media for Ofcom shows that many people use their smartphones in “non-traditional” locations: almost half use their phone while socialising with others and a fifth of users claim to use them on the toilet.

Elsewhere in the report, Ofcom said that when accessing the internet via a computer, nearly three-quarters of users (74 per cent) visited news and information sites. Ofcom said that on average users spent less than an hour (56 minutes) visiting sites in this category.

According to Ofcom BBC, Sky and the Daily Mail all feature in the UK’s top 20 websites ranked by time spent accessing them.

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