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Online consumption universal among young people

Consumption of online and on-demand content is almost universal among 16-24 year olds, reports BDRC Continental.

Consumption of online and on-demand content is almost universal among 16-24 year olds, reports BDRC Continental.

In the report for Ofcom titled ‘Attitudes to online and on demand content’, around three-quarters (71 per cent) of adults aged 16+ claim to have ‘ever viewed’ on-demand and online content, and use is almost universal among 16-24 year olds (94 per cent).

The use of long-form TV catch-up services is roughly the same as the most-used short- form service, such as non-professional YouTube content, in both overall penetration and frequency of use.

Teens’ (aged 12-15) consumption patterns are similar to those of all adults, albeit with a higher level of use for most services.

Teens use a wide range of online services, particularly for non-paid long-form and most short-form content. However, young adults’ (aged 16-24) consumption levels tend to outstrip those of teens.

Teens are less likely to use PCs/Macs/laptops and more likely than adults overall to use smartphones and tablets to view on-demand and online services.

Overall, around a tenth (11 per cent) of on-demand and online content viewers have seen something of concern on an on-demand or online service.

Levels of concern correlate with age, with the highest incidence of concern among the younger age groups (16 per cent among 12-15s and 16-34s). This also correlates with the level of use, which implies that greater levels of use lead to higher potential levels of exposure to concerning content.

There is mixed understanding of regulation in the on-demand and online environment.

TV catch-up services are the most likely to be correctly identified as being regulated (63 per cent). There is increased misunderstanding of regulation as the user moves away from ‘TV like’ content, for example around 40 per cent of users know that user-generated content is unregulated.

The highest level of mis-attribution is for video on news websites. Younger adult users are more likely to get it wrong.

People who have seen something of concern are more than twice as likely as average to feel there is too little regulation (35 per cent versus 14 per cent). Around two-fifths (41 per cent) feel that on-demand and online content overall should be regulated.

People wrongly believe there is variation in the levels of regulation by device: perceived regulation is highest for devices used to access content via a TV set and drops off for more ‘personal computing- type’ devices (like smartphones and tablets), reflecting the higher perceived regulation for TV-like services.

However, there is a desire for consistency of regulation across devices. Most users think that responsibility for regulating on-demand and online services lies with content providers themselves. Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) are the most-mentioned third-party bodies.

Read the full report here.