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Press Release


The death of peace and quiet

The death of peace and quiet

Hot on the heels of a recent Ofcom report (September 2008) showing that UK adults are now consuming more than 50 hours of media per week, Media researchers M-Lab have revealed the impact of this increase in media consumption on our home lives.

On average, the M-Lab research reveals, UK adults now have only one hour (63 minutes) per day of ‘media silence’ at home, but one in three (31%) now have media on all the time while at home, and a further 22% have only half an hour or less each day with no media playing.

Commenting on the results, Graham Williams, Director of M-Lab, said: “If you add it all up, the average person now spends more time on TV, radio, internet and phone calls than they actually spend at home – that explains why so many people now watch TV and surf the net at the same time - if we weren’t, we’d have no quiet time left at all” 

M-Lab’s research also revealed that the times of day that people are most likely to enjoy a bit of ‘media-free’ time at home are at around midday to 12.30pm, and around 5 to 5.30 pm.

Graham Williams adds, “Usually the summer months find us consuming less media, but with the Olympics, many of us will not have taken our usual summer break from media consumption – and as the evenings get shorter, life will become increasingly media-heavy over the next few months”

Bedrooms are one of the last places in homes where people ‘switch off’, but even this is changing – 32% now wake up to the sound of TV or radio, and 71% say that some kind of media consumption is the last thing they do before going to sleep at night. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than one in four adults (27%) say that having a TV in the bedroom is affecting their sex life for the worse…

Williams commented, “For many of us, switching on media when we get home is as automatic as switching on the lights – from the moment our clock-radio wakes us in the morning to the moment we switch off the TV or check our last email at night, media is a constant companion. For some people, background noise provides a vital sense of security and companionship, but for others, preserving a bit of quiet time for ourselves, or to spend with our families, is getting increasingly difficult”

The M-Lab research also asked about the devices that most annoy us at home: and ‘noisy’ devices are clearly the biggest culprits – landline phones, mobile phones, alarm clocks, washing machines, TVs, vacuum cleaners, and smoke alarms are the ‘seven deadly dins’ of modern life. (Husbands and wives also made the top ten – a surprising result considering that we asked about annoying ‘devices’!).

Williams added, “We are clearly reaching a limit here – media companies have almost no space left to fill in our home lives.  The opportunity to increase overall consumption now lies in reaching people on the move through mobile devices, or in leisure venues. There is also a big opportunity for media brands who can exploit the simultaneous use of the internet and other media. For consumers, life will be more crowded than ever, but on the plus side, greater control over content will mean that irrelevant and intrusive media will be squeezed out of existence”.

Further Information and contact details:

Please contact Graham Williams, Director of M-Lab for further commentary or details on the research. / 020 7281 3387 / 07884 116154



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