Digital Britain Part Four close

David Hart
18th July 2012
Digital Britain Part Four

The fourth and final part of our summary of the fascinating 175 page report by agency Dare, that takes a look at research from a variety of sources and gives a snapshot of how we, as Britons, behave digitally.

This month: bringing it all together: how all the elements we’ve discussed are working together to paint a new picture of the way we are behaving online. If you haven’t read the previous parts, or the actual report itself, this should tell you all you need to know about the things you really need to know.

I’ve splattered it with our own conclusions about what it means, too.

What the **** is going on?

There was a time when you knew where you were with a device. For each device there was usually one medium associated with it. The TV was where you watched TV shows. Your phone was used for speaking to people who weren’t stood next to you. Your games console was how you played Tomb Raider. Your computer was for writing documents and looking up information on the Internet. Tablets were something you swallowed with a glass of water when you had a headache.

But today, people are walking around stores looking up products on their mobiles. They are sharing their purchase decisions on their social networks. Technology exists that can trigger content to appear on a tablet when something else is being watched on the telly. Mobile phones are no longer mainly used for making phone calls (only 40% of the time) and your TV will eventually just be a place where a series of apps allows you to watch films and programmes, but also play games and share content.

The main message here is that everything is merging: media and devices are interchangeable. And we think the device used will be based increasingly on the use case, rather than the medium. You will use a mobile on the move and maybe to supplement the experience of watching a large TV screen. The TV screen on the wall in your living room will be used for shared entertainment, where the whole family sit down and watch something together. But people might use tablets and mobiles to either watch their own shows, or to personalise the shared experience for them: maybe by bitching about a presenter on Twitter, or getting additional information on something that’s just happened, or adding supplementary related programming to a viewing-list that they can catch up on later.

Brands and retail

For brands and for retail, this meshing together of devices and media is totally unavoidable. It is both an opportunity and a threat. On the one hand, we know that people behave differently when it comes to search on a mobile: which makes providing visual and mental short-cuts (such as strong brands) for people ever more important. On the other hand, a large chunk of the population is using the internet as a means of getting the best possible deals: where price is the main driver, what chances are there for premium brands who charge extra for great customer service and user experience? The answer is “quite a lot