Ofcom is an evidence-based regulator, so market research is important to us. Many of our decisions are informed by research evidence, and our market research ensures that we have a thorough, robust and up-to-date understanding of consumers in the UK.
We work with independent market research agencies to conduct research among consumers of all communications services, and with specialist suppliers in areas such as gathering data on the fixed-line and mobile broadband speeds that consumers actually receive.
We have a number of regular, recurring tracker surveys that are run once a year or more often, to provide us with time-series data about consumers’ behaviour and attitudes in relation to communications devices and services. The tracker surveys feed in to a wide variety of Ofcom’s publications and projects, and all the data releases can be seen in the statistical release calendar, and in Ofcom’s open data portal.
During 2020, Ofcom suspended the Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) tracking survey for the year. We said at the time that we intended to re-design and recommission a new audience tracking survey in 2021 and in its place for 2020, we would use the extensive range of quantitative and qualitative ad-hoc research that explores peoples’ relationship with PSB, as part of our PSB review, Small Screen: Big Debate.
This document sets out our plans for the new tracker beginning Spring 2021. It details survey design changes that have been developed through our learnings from the PSB Review research – which has offered us detailed insights into audiences’ relationship with PSB, including their use of PSB content and its relevance to them, the role and value of PSB in their lives and what they consider to be valuable going forward.
We invite comment on these proposals. Please submit any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12pm on 27 January 2021.
Our Children’s Media Literacy Tracker provides detailed evidence on media use and attitudes among children and young people aged 3-15.
This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, our fieldwork has been conducted online, instead of face-to-face.
This document confirms longer-term changes to the methodology and frequency of our tracker to reflect changes in the media landscape and user behaviour.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and associated guidelines, Ofcom has suspended face-to-face fieldwork across all consumer research projects to protect the safety of everyone involved. Ofcom’s Technology Tracker, usually a face-to-face survey, is affected by this decision.
In November we published a notification of changes that sets out the proposed alternative methodology we will use to complete 2021 fieldwork, and the impact this will have on the 2021 dataset. Following consultation, these changes have been confirmed.
Our annual publications such as the Communications Market Report, the Online Nation report, the Comparing Service Quality report, the Connected Nations report, Media Nations report and our media literacy reports, use data collected from our tracker surveys, as well as data that we collect directly from broadcasters and telecoms operators as part of our regulatory duties, and third-party data that we buy from specialist providers.
We also commission specific pieces of research in response to new topics that arise in the markets we regulate, and in relation to changing or emerging consumer concerns. Recent (2019) examples include our research into online harms and mobile handset charging.
Our market intelligence team collects and analyses information from industry; directly, by using our power to make formal requests; and indirectly, by using third-party information sources. It monitors and interprets market developments and industry trends, across the media and telecommunications sectors and other relevant industries, at company, sector, UK and overseas levels. We publish quarterly telecoms data updates and telecoms and pay-TV complaints statistics, and broadband speeds data.
We publish our research, so that everyone, including industry stakeholders and consumers, can benefit from it. You can search our research publications on our website. We also publish as much as possible of our raw data as open data, in .csv and similar open formats. There’s also a ‘Fast Facts’ page, for quick reference.