10.47 Europe/London, August 4, 2011 By Julian Clover

One fifth of consumers with access to a games console are using their devices to watch video content. The trend is one of a number of shifts in the marketplace reported by the regulator Ofcom in its annual Communications Market report.

The 22% of gamers includes 11% that claimed to have downloaded/streamed from the web and 19% who have watched content through the BBC iPlayer. Four per cent used their consoles to watch live TV programmes/content; this rose to 7% among people aged 16-24.

The rise of high speed internet access has also impacted on the amount of content that is being downloaded or streamed over the internet. Ofcom says 54% have watched TV shows and 63% movies. In Q1 2011, 35% of individuals claimed to have used the internet to watch catch-up television services. Broadband availability has also increased the amount of online gaming (37%), video calling (39%) and file sharing (40%).

Personal Video Recorders are now available in 46% of homes and within these households time-shifting accounts for 14% of viewer hours – suggesting that watching ‘live’ linear television is still by far the more popular pastime. Half of all time-shifted content in 2010 was watched on the same day as transmission, while the remainder was watched within one to seven days after broadcast, though audience researcher Barb does not record viewing after seven days.

The 9.6 million homes with a PVR compares to 3 million in 2005, representing a three-fold increase over the five year period

One million TV sets are now capable of pulling in content from the internet; 3D TV set sales accounted for around only 1% of sets sold in 2010.

Despite recessionary pressures revenue from pay-TV subscriptions continues to grow, up to £4.8 billion in 2010. Virgin Media’s customer base grew by 1.2% to 3.8 million, while Sky’s numbers climbed by 2.8% to reach 10.1 million, the latter figure also including the Republic of Ireland.

Spending by the Sports and Film channels rose significantly in 2010, up by 16% to £1546m; however spending by the other digital channels fell the furthest over the year, down by 6% over the period.