The Communications Market: Scotland
This year’s Communications Market Report explores how consumers use communications services.
Our data highlights changes in how people communicate with others, watch or listen to content, seek information, shop, and participate in the digital world.
Our TV landscape is evolving. We are no longer confined to the broadcasters’ schedules.
Instead we are scheduling our own viewing to fit in with our lives, supplementing live broadcast TV viewing with broadcasters’ on-demand and streaming services, recorded TV and subscription on-demand and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Combined with an increase in take-up of fixed broadband (78% of households in Scotland in 2017, compared to 64% in 2012) and portable devices (70% and 56% of people used a smartphone and tablet in 2017 compared to 32% and 11% in 2012). This has given us the freedom to watch what we want, when we want, where we want.
But it is not a simple shift from live broadcast TV to on-demand and streaming. Live broadcast TV remains a central component, but increasingly people are using different services and types of content to meet different needs. This section explores the needs met by these different servicesg, and the benefits and disadvantages of this new approach to TV consumption.
In 2017, Freeview and satellite television were the most widely used television services in Scotland.
Cable services were the next most popular, while one in ten adults nominated hybrid DTT and IPTV (including BT, EE, NowTV and TalkTalk). Compared to the UK overall, adults in Scotland were more likely to say that Freeview (37% vs. 30% for the UK) was their main television service, while all other services were in line with the UK average.
Cable services were less likely than in 2016 to be named as the main TV service in Scotland, returning to their 2015 levels.
Satellite television had higher penetration in rural areas of Scotland (42% in rural areas vs. 31% in urban areas), and take-up of cable services was higher in urban areas (19% in urban areas vs. 2% in rural areas), probably due to its lower availability in rural locations.
Download the TV and audio-visual section (PDF, 824.6 KB).
There are now 87 stations broadcasting on DAB in Scotland. This comprises 13 from the BBC, 30 stations on the Sound Digital and Digital One multiplexes, and 44 commercial stations on local DAB multiplexes.
However, not all of these digital stations will be available on DAB to listeners across Scotland.
The proportion of households within the coverage area for each type of station varies, and there are different services on each of the local DAB multiplexes serving different parts of Scotland.
There are also 74 analogue stations available in Scotland overall.
Download the radio and audio section (PDF, 528.9 KB).
The Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme aims to deliver fibre broadband access to around 95% of premises in Scotland by the end of March 2018.
The programme is currently split into two: The Rest of Scotland project and the Highlands & Islands project. Latest figures from the Scottish Government suggest the overall cost of the project is projected to be £410 million, with funding coming from the Scottish Government, UK Government (via BDUK), BT and local authorities across Scotland.
In March 2017, the Scottish Government announced it would be investing a further £15.6 million into the project as part of a process that sees funds returned from BT to the Scottish Government when take-up reaches certain levels. This additional funding will specifically help to boost fibre broadband coverage and performance in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Perth and Kinross, the Scottish Borders and Stirling.
Around 5% of Scotland will not be part of the roll-out of fibre broadband under the programme due to budget constraints and technical challenges in rolling out infrastructure to remote areas of Scotland. However, the Scottish Government recently launched the ‘Reaching 100% programme’ which aims to make superfast broadband available to all premises in Scotland by 2021. The Scottish Government is now undertaking a review of all planned commercial broadband investment ahead of commencing the next phase of public investment.
Download the telecoms and networks section (PDF, 1.2 MB).
In 2017, more than three-quarters (77%) of households in Scotland have access to the internet. Internet take-up levels in Scotland are statistically unchanged since 2016.
Around seven in ten households in Scotland (72%) have access to fixed broadband at home, and almost six in ten (57%) use the internet through a mobile phone - both figures unchanged since 2016.
The proportion of adults in Scotland who access the internet exclusively through a mobile phone or smartphone, and those with mobile broadband to a device other than phone, remain stable, both at 2%.
Download the internet and online section (PDF, 423.9 KB).
More than six in ten adults in Scotland are using more email instead of post than they were two years ago.
Sixty-five per cent of adults in Scotland report that they are using email more than two years ago, as a substitute for post, which is the same level as the UK overall (65%). More than four in ten (43%) say they are using texts/SMS more, and 39% say this for mobile phone calls. Three in ten mention social networking (30%) and about a quarter choose instant messaging (27%). Fifteen per cent of adults in Scotland say that that they aren’t using any form of communication in particular more at the expense of post; this is in line with the UK overall (15%).
Nearly half of people in Scotland say they are sending fewer payments for bills / invoices / statements (48%) and personal letters (47%) than two years ago. Just under four in ten are sending fewer formal letters (39%) and invitations / greetings cards / postcards (37%), with nearly three in ten sending fewer larger parcels (29%). Around a quarter are sending fewer smaller parcels (26%) and items requiring a signature (24%), while one in five are sending less tracked post (20%). For each of these eight types of post, the percentage of people in Scotland claiming to be sending less is higher than the percentage claiming to be sending less in the UK overall.
Download the post section (PDF, 1.3 MB).