Brits Spend More Time on News than Porn

YNOT EUROPE – The bloom may be off the sexually explicit rose, at least in the U.K. A new study by London-based United Kingdom Online Measurement Company has determined British web surfers now spend more of their online time reading news than looking at pornography.

According to UKOM, the number of adult Brits who visit porn websites has fallen during the past three years, while news consumption has nearly doubled. Study results released May 19 indicate Britons spent 65 percent more time online in April 2010 than they did in April 2007, but only 2.7 percent of adult British surfers consume online porn, while 2.8 percent spend their time boning up on the latest current events.

According to a UKOM spokesman, the figures represent less a new trend than a correction of myth.

“The prevalence of web adult usage has always been greatly overestimated,” Alex Burmaster told the Telegraph. “The reality is completely different. To read about the internet, you might think that all people do is browse for pornography, but that sector is not as large as people think it is.”

Although porn may have suffered as Brits became more web-savvy, other market sectors did not, according to the UKOM report. In April 2007, social networks and blogs accounted for less than 9 percent of all UK internet time (one minute in every 11) but in three years, the sector has grown to account for almost 23 percent of UK internet time, or the equivalent of one in every four and a half minutes. In other words, if all April 2010 UK internet time was condensed into one hour, 13 and one-half minutes would be spent on social networks and blogs. The increase represents a rise of 340 percent. Only the coupons/rewards and food/cooking sectors saw larger relative growth in the same period.

The most heavily used sectors, following social networks and blogs, are personal email (7.2 percent share of time) and online games (6.9 percent share).

The biggest casualty of the rise in social networking is instant messaging which, three years ago. According to UKOM, IM’s current share of UK internet time has fallen from 14 percent to 5 percent, a relative drop of 66 percent.

In contrast, personal email, which many predicted to be another casualty of the social networking phenomenon, increased its share of online time from 6.5 percent to 7.2 percent — a relative rise of 11 percent. In absolute terms, Britons now spend 88 percent more time on email sites than they did three years ago, but 42 percent less time on IM.

The online news sector, which overtook porn, has attracted 212 percent more UK internet time than it saw in April 2007, when the category garnered only a 1.5-percent share.

Surprisingly, internet portals like Yahoo! and MSN may have suffered premature obituaries. UKOM reported Brits spend 87 percent more time on portals than they did three years ago — 31 million hours in April 2010 compared to 17 million three years ago. Consequently the portals’ share of online time has increased, relatively, by 10 percent, from 3.7 to 4.0 percent.

“Despite the large increase in the amount of time people spend online and the increasing proliferation of websites and online services, one thing has remained constant, and that is the bulk of time accounted for by communicating, networking and playing games,” Burmaster said. “These are the pillars on which the internet as a heavily used medium are built.”

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