Internet use inevitably spikes in lockdown Britain

Average daily time spent online by UK adults topped four hours for the first time in April of this year, with much of the country compelled to stay at home coz of coronavirus.

The data comes from telecoms regulator Ofcom, through its annual Online Nation report. As you can see below, the amount of time we spend online has been trending upwards anyway. This, too, is unsurprising, if only if you factor in the steady migration from broad broadcast TV to SVoD services. But the 30-minute increase in just seven months clearly represents and acceleration.

“Lockdown may leave a lasting digital legacy,” said Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director of Strategy and Research. “Coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work and communicate online, with millions of people using online video services for the first time. As the way we communicate evolves and people broaden their online horizons, our role is to help ensure that people have a positive experience, and that they’re safe and protected.”

A lot of what Teh was referring to was presumably video conferencing, which experienced massive spikes as soon as the world started locking down in March. But the Ofcom announcement chose to focus on user-generated video as something that has typified the unique circumstances, we find ourselves in.

It’s interesting to see how much more active people, especially kids, are when it comes to uploading video on mobile-first platforms like Snapchat and TikTok as opposed to YouTube, presumably because the process is simpler. Maybe they’re doing a better job of rewarding them than famously stingy YouTube too.