Consumers in the UK are lapping up more and more electronic media and communications services according to the new "Communications Market 2004 Report," published last week by Ofcom, regulator for the UK communications industries (TV, telco, wireless, radio, etc) .
Highlights for me are:
Thought: if we are doing more digital media consumption, we must being do less of something else... but less of what? It can't be less commuting because we're doing more of that, or less time doing 'leisure' stuff, but this is on the increase too. Maybe we're doing more at the same time?
This train of thought led me to an interesting article: The Impact Of Internet Use on Sociability: Time-Diary Findings (PDF) by Norman H. Nie and D. Sunshine Hillygus (Stanford University), exploring the “displacement” theory of Internet use:
"The hypothesis is quite simple: the Internet has created a shift in people’s time allocation. The more time they sit in front of a computer screen, the less time they have for interacting directly with family and friends. This “displacement” model holds that time on one activity simply cannot be spent on another activity, since time is a zero-sum phenomenon. Because there are only 24 hours in a day, time spent on one activity must often be traded off against time spent on other activities. Like any activity, time online fundamentally competes with, rather than complements, face-to-face social time.
The alternate hypothesis is that the Internet offers an additional technology for both engaging in social interaction and coordinating social activities. This efficiency hypothesis contends that the Internet makes other activities more efficient, resulting in less stress and more time for social activities (for example, Franzen 2000). For instance, if an individual is able to shop online more quickly than shopping at a store, it may free up time to spend with friends or family. The data in this article can be used to test whether the net effect of Internet use on sociability more closely adheres to this efficiency hypothesis or to the displacement hypothesis. If the relationship between time on the Internet and time socializing is positive, the results will support the efficiency hypothesis. The present hypothesis, however, is that the relationship is negative, thus supporting the displacement hypothesis."
More related articles are listed at the Stanford University 'IT and Sociability' web journal website.
Other findings from the Ofcom Communications Market 2004 Report: