Data out this week from Ofcom looks at the role of media, devices and platforms in our lives. The overriding trend in this research is the increasing dominance of mobile over the last ten years, not just as a way of communicating but as our access point to a wide variety of entertainment and information. The smartphone isn’t just challenging the desktop computer, it’s also challenging the TV.

Perhaps the most interesting of all the data is to look at the media device people would miss most if it was taken away from them. Overall, the TV remains the device that the largest group of people would miss – at a total of 37% of the population. However, the mobile phone is no longer far behind – being missed most by 32% of the population. But the data is even more interesting when split by age. For all below the age of 45, the mobile phone is now the primary media device (the one people would miss the most); and for those under 35, it is the primary device for a majority of the population.

For these audiences, mobile is the go-to media device and the one they would miss the most. It is the device they use everyday and their main route to social networks, news and for surfing the web. And increasingly it is the device they use to consume video content.

What can we learn from this?

Whilst we often think of mobile as a ‘second-screen’, one that people use alongside a TV or another device, for a significant proportion of the UK population it is probably the  ‘first-screen’. We should be designing experiences for these audiences that build from the mobile out – supported by TV, desktop and other experiences. We should be using the unique nature of a mobile device to entertain, inform and engage audiences in new ways.

And overall we should be seeing this for the opportunity that it is. The primary device is now one that consumers carry with them at all times, rather than one in the corner of one room in their house.

Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Head of Digital Strategy for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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