Global television revenues reached £164bn in 2005: Ofcom

MUMBAI: UK media regulatory body Ofcom has published its International Communications Market Report.

The report analyses trends in the global television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications industries. It also compares UK data, consumer attitudes and industry performance against that of China, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the US

Global television revenues reached £164 billion in 2005 (equating to £25 per person), having grown at 7.2 per cent per annum in nominal terms for four years, making it the fastest-growing sector within the communications industry.

In 2005, the US had by far the largest television industry in revenue terms, attracting £75 billion. Japan, came second in the same year with £19.5 billion followed by the UK with £10 billion. However the UK is second to the US on a per capita basis, at £164 against £253 for the US.

The UK leads the world for penetration of digital television at over 70 per cent of households, against 54 per cent in the US. Chinese viewers benefit from the largest number of analogue terrestrial free-to-view channels (16), while the UK has the fewest with five.

The UK is one of the most successful countries for exporting programmes and formats – in 2004 64 formats and nearly 3800 hours of programmes were sold internationally. Public service broadcasters are coming under increasing funding pressure around the world; however support for PSBs is still high, especially in the UK.

Young people are having an increasingly disruptive effect on TV viewing across the globe. In the countries surveyed, around one third of those with broadband access claimed they were watching less TV. Declining TV reach among younger people is an international phenomenon.

All countries in the survey have made commitments to digital switchover. Sweden and Germany have already begun a geographically phased process which they aim to complete by 2007 and 2009 respectively. The remaining countries have set completion dates between 2009 and 2012.

Operators diversifying channel business models : Channels launched by channel operators have in some cases relied on a new business model – in other words, free-to-air operators have diversified into pay television and in some cases pay television channel operators have done the opposite (e.g. Discovery launching a FTA channel, DMax, in Germany).

More channels relying on the same business model:Terrestrial broadcasters have also taken advantage of additional broadcasting capacity to launch channels that rely on their traditional source of revenue, such as free-to-air broadcasters expanding their advertiser-funded channel portfolios (e.g. France Télévision
launching France 4 and Gulli on the French DTT platform).

New revenue streams enabled by new technologies : There is a third category of response based around the development of new services enabled by technological innovation.Pay-per-view (PPV) was a widely-deployed service in the earlier days of digital television platforms, but more recently content on demand, delivered though broadband, offers channels and rights holders access to yet another new revenue stream.

Discovery recently launched a broadband site in Germany that offers consumers subscription-based access to full-length programmes from its archive; and Channel 4 and Five in the UK both have broadband-based download services offering access to US and UK shows. DTT launched in many markets and well established in some

Roll-outs were advanced worldwide – helped by supplier and consumer incentives. The timing and pace of DTT launches have varied by country – launches began in the late 1990s with Sweden and the UK, but some countries have only recently begun to roll out a DTT network (e.g. France).

Global radio revenues (including public funding) totalled £25 billion in 2005 (or around £4 per person), of which £18 billion came from advertising. Growth has been generally lower than for telecoms or television – at around 3.8 per cen tper year in nominal terms since 2001.

The US is by far the largest market for radio, with annual revenues of £11 billion in 2005; Japan is second with revenues of £1.9 million. Together the US and Japan account for over 50 per cent of the radio revenues of the twelve countries studied in this report. The UK is the fourth largest market with revenues of £1.2 billion in 2005.

The proportion of total ad spent on radio varies substantially by country. In the US, 11.5 per cent of all display advertising expenditure goes on radio; in the UK it is less than four per cent. Radio listening is more popular in the UK than in any other country in this study – with weekly listening per capita averaging nearly 23 hours. The share of listening to PSB stations is also higher in the UK than anywhere else – at around 55% of total listening.

Digital radio is increasing in popularity. The UK leads in the roll-out of DAB, with 85 per cent coverage and over 200 stations available. The internet Ofcom notes is having a positive impact on radio listening with around one third of adult broadband users among the countries we surveyed listening to online radio every week. Less than one in five adults claims to be listening to less radio offline as a result of being connected to broadband.

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