Internet use grows
Video sharing fuels appetite for online services
Millions have watched the Joe Wicks videos
Adults are now spending more than a quarter of their waking day online – the highest on record – as Brits have adopted video sharing services to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
Services such as TikTok and Zoom have seen unprecedented growth, according to Ofcom’s latest study into the nation’s online lives.
Ofcom’s annual Online Nation report reveals that in April UK adults spent a daily average of four hours and two minutes online compared to just under three and a half hours in September last year.
With people seeking new ways to keep connected, informed, entertained and fit during the pandemic, emerging video-sharing and video-calling services are surging in popularity.
TikTok, which allows users to create and share short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos, reached 12.9 million UK adult visitors in April, up from just 5.4 million in January. Twitch, the popular livestreaming platform for gamers, saw visitors increase from 2.3 million to 4.2 million adults.
The proportion of UK online adults making video calls has also doubled during lockdown, with more than seven in 10 doing so at least weekly. Houseparty, the app which combines group video-calls with games and quizzes, grew from 175,000 adult visitors in January to 4 million in April.
But the biggest growth was seen by Zoom, the virtual meeting platform, which grew from 659,000 UK adults to reach 13 million adults over the same period – a rise of almost 2,000%.
Sites and apps such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, which allow people to create, upload and share videos online, have never been so popular.
The report reveals that nine in 10 online adults, and almost all older children aged 8-15, used at least one of these websites and apps in the last year, with many watching videos several times a day. One third (32%) of online adults now spend more time viewing video-sharing services than broadcast television.
Britons are not only watching but creating and broadcasting their own content. Two in five adults (40%) and 59% of older children who use video-sharing sites and apps now create and upload their own videos, driving an explosion in short-form, user-generated content.
Vlogging is also a money-making enterprise, with 17% of adults who create and upload videos receiving revenue or gifts in return. With some vloggers going on to achieve global celebrity status, the proportion of children under 13 who aspire to become a ‘YouTuber’ had increased by 19% by the end of 2019 compared to 2018. Boys in particular are more likely to consider it as a career.
Video-sharing and livestreaming during the Covid-19 pandemic, has also provided a valued means for people to stay in touch, keep informed, and boost their morale.