The Regulator and The Internet

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Ofcom (the Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries) has just published its comprehensive International Communications Market report for 2011 (the sixth in its series).


Of the Pdf’s 365 pages we reckon that over a third relate to the internet (including broadband). Much of the research information included relates to 2010 and is generally sourced from recognised marketing data providers such as Warc and Nielsen resulting occasionally in charts that remind us of an element of Ofcom’s logo!

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They commission certain consumer research directly and quite a proportion of the internet content arises from this research eg much of the 26 pages devoted to Social Networking and a significant proportion of the 47 pages of the Internet and Web based content sections. They fully explain their methodology in one of the Appendices in much more detail than we provide here. “The survey researches the communications behaviour of internet users in six markets: the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the US, and Australia.”  “The International Communications Behaviour research is conducted using an international online consumer access panel.” “A total of 6,012 interviews were completed – with at least 1,000 in each of …. The markets…”  Whilst there is lots of useful and highly relevant information in the report it strikes us that this sample and concentration is very focused eg a chart shows that over 10% of all the interviewees had tablets!

An area which we did find interesting was the total and internet advertising spend amongst the 17 comparator countries in the report.

Starting at the top:

Total advertising spend worldwide is £289bn (as per the Ofcom chart above) . Relating total spend with population rankings – significantly ahead of the game are Australia (+6) Canada (+5) and both the UK & Germany (+4) – behind are Russia -6 and India -11.

As an aside we suppose it’s  fairly obvious that the UK lags behind the average for TV advertising spend (and in fact is in 13th place in % terms of the 17) as we have such a dominant public sector broadcaster in the BBC. It could be argued that it simply displaces advertising spend to the internet! Well done the BBC!

Our graph shows the internet advertising spend deduced from the Ofcom data for their comparator countries reflecting £39.6bn of the total £44bn spend in 2010. They sourced this from Warc. We no doubt have generated some rounding errors in our calculations for which we apologise!

So again we lead the European pack and worldwide are the third largest internet advertiser whilst in population terms are #9 of the 17.

Other sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

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