Ethnic population is at the forefront of digital communications

- From Ofcom Newsrelease

Ethnic minority groups are at the forefront of digital communications in the UK, with high levels of mobile phone, internet and multichannel television take-up. Ofcom’s media literacy audit of UK adults from ethnic minority groups draws on quantitative research from the four largest ethnic minority groups in the UK : Indians, Pakistanis, Black Caribbeans and Black Africans. The audit provides a rich picture of the different elements of media literacy across television, radio, the internet and mobile phones amongst ethnic minority groups.

The importance of age and socio-economic groups

The research found that under-45s tend to be more engaged with digital media. The age profile of the ethnic minority groups is significantly younger than the UK population overall which is a key factor contributing to higher take-up among them. However, take-up of services by ethnic minority groups in this age group is also significantly different to that of the under 45s across the UK as a whole. Ethnic minorities in the under-45 age group are more likely to own a mobile phone and access digital TV and the internet (ranging from 64-73 per cent across the groups) than the average person under 45 in the UK (67 per cent).

Take-up, interest in, volume of use and confidence with digital media is higher among ethnic minority households compared with households in the UK generally. There is higher engagement among C2DE households from ethnic minority groups compared with C2DE households in the UK in general.

Take-up of digital services

Mobile phone take up is higher amongst adults from Indian, Pakistani, Black Caribbean and Black African groups (88-95 per cent compared to 85 per cent of the UK population as a whole) and Indian, Pakistani and Black African adults are far more likely to live in households with multiple device access (digital TV, mobile phone and internet) than the UK population as a whole (ranging from 62-65 per cent compared to 53 per cent of the UK population).

Confidence online and using interactive services

Adults from ethnic minority groups are more likely to be interested in and confident about using specific interactive functions on digital devices than the general UK population. For example, over three quarters of adults from each of the ethnic minority groups said that they were interested in digital television functions, such as using the interactive button on the remote and setting up a menu of favourite channels.

But, despite almost all adults from ethnic minority groups showing interest in internet functions, they are less confident about general use of the internet. For example, they are less likely to say they are confident finding information online (69 – 83 per cent compared to 91 per cent of the UK population as a whole) and creating content (59 – 62 per cent compared with 66 per cent of the UK population as a whole).

All four ethnic minority groups are also less likely than the UK population as a whole to shop or bank online (19-29 per cent compared to 41 per cent).

Despite the lack of confidence in some areas, ethnic minority groups are more likely to have downloaded music, video clips and longer content such as films and television programmes than the UK population as a whole. For example, between 65 and 79 per cent of ethnic minority groups say that they use the internet to listen to or download music online compared to 57 per cent of the UK population.

Other key findings

  • Among Indian and Pakistani adults, males are more likely to have access to the internet at home (83 per cent and 76 per cent compared to 66 per cent of Black Caribbeans and 70 per cent of Black Africans) and use a mobile phone than females (96 per cent and 95 per cent compared to 84 per cent of Black Caribbeans and 88 per cent of Black Africans);
  • Pakistani adults are more likely to have digital television (89 per cent) than any other adults in the UK (82 per cent);
  • Black Caribbean and Black African adults are the least likely to read a newspaper or magazine (38 per cent and 37 per cent compared to 74 per cent of the UK population) or watch a DVD (38 per cent and 26 per cent compared to 63 per cent of the UK population);
  • Indians and Pakistanis spend more time online than any other adults in the UK (13.5 hours per week compared to the UK average of 12.1 hours per week);
  • Black Africans are the group most attached to their mobiles 37 per cent saying that mobiles would be the most missed media activity (compared to 13 per cent of the UK population as a whole);
  • A large majority of ethnic minority groups say they use another digital device while using the internet – significantly higher than in the UK overall (94 – 96 per cent compared to 84 per cent of the UK population as a whole);
  • All four ethnic minority groups show greater levels of interest in learning about digital technology (38 – 54 per cent) than the UK average (31 per cent).

The full research can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/advice/media_literacy/ml_audit/emg/.

Source: Ofcom Newsreleases 15/09/08 

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