Who cares about the telly? It's all about the internet now

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It’s official: internet access and mobile phones are more important to young Britons than television.

This is the conclusion from new research from Ofcom, the communications regulator, but at a closer look it’s not such a straight shot as it first seems.

While kids care less about watching TV, it’s the traditional set-up of scheduled programming watched on the living room set that’s suffering. They are actually watching more TV than at any time in the past five years – it’s just that it’s mostly happening on catch-up services like the iPlayer.

So what this study is really indicating is that the convergence is happening: TV isn’t really declining, it’s just enjoyed on other devices not traditionally associated with watching programmes.

British teenagers now watch 17 hours and 37 minutes of TV per week, compared with 15 hours 37 minutes in 2007. Ofcom spoke with 1,717 people for this study, concluding that TV, which was rated as equally important as the internet in the same study a few years ago, is now cited as equally important. Kids are more attached to TV if they are very young, but the number of 12-15 year olds who said they would miss TV if it was gone had dropped from 28% to just 18%. 25% of respondents said they would miss the internet.

Teens still rate their mobiles above both TV and the web. Gaming seems to have stabilised at a high plateau: user numbers are stable at 81-92%, depending on age. Internet coverage is solid, with 95% of kids aged 12 to 15 have web access at home via a computer. There is however a socio-economic divide, where only 80% those from more deprived backgrounds have internet access.

US X Factor viewers to vote via Twitter

And in other convergence news: Viewers of X Factor in the US will now be able to vote for their favourite star via Twitter. Fans can send a direct message to the official X Factor Twitter account to cast their votes. “It’s a sign of the times,” says Simon Cowell. No word yet on the finances of this new arrangement though – or does it mean the karaoke empire is no longer about making money? Well I never.

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