People in the United Kingdom are among the most likely to access television programming distributed over the internet. Online television and video revenue in the United Kingdom has risen by almost 300% in three years. Yet it still represents less than 3% of total television subscription, advertising and licence fee revenue in the country, or 28% of the total export value of television programmes.

Ofcom, the communications regulator in the United Kingdom, has published its annual International Communications Market Report. It compares the availability, adoption and usage of services in the United Kingdom and 16 comparator countries: France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Global television revenues increased by 4% in 2012 to over £250 billion, with half of it coming from subscription fees. Despite challenging economic conditions, television revenues have increased 4.4% on a compound annual basis over the four years since 2008.

The United States is the most valuable television market, with annual revenues of £103.6 billion, followed by Japan at £32.7 billion, China at £ 15.5 billion, Brazil at £ 12.7 billion and the United Kingdom at £11.7 billion.

With annual revenues of £185 per head, the United Kingdom is behind Sweden at £200, Australia at £249, Japan at £257, and the United States at £329 per person.

The United Kingdom has the highest ownership of digital video recorders among these countries, at 41% of households, according to Ofcom research. The United States and Australia have 38% and 35% respectively.

68% of households in the United Kingdom now have a high-definition television. That is the highest in Europe and second only to Australia, where 74% of homes have one. Only 48% of households in the United Kingdom actually receive a high-definition television service, which is the highest level of adoption in Europe.

17% of homes in the United Kingdom reported having a smart television, and of them 78% reported having connected it and used it to access online services.

People in the United Kingdom are the most likely to access television programming over the internet, with 36% of online users claiming to do so every week. They are also most likely to watch catch-up television on their smart televisions, tablets or mobile phones. 77% of smart television owners in the United Kingdom report using it to access catch-up television, while 34% of tablet owners and 12% of smartphone owners use these devices to watch catch-up television. Almost a third of games console owners use them to access catch-up services.

Online television and video revenue in the United Kingdom has risen by almost 300% in three years, from £87 million in 2009 to £349 in 2012. However, the United States is by far the largest online television and video market among the comparator countries, at £5.4 billion. That is more than the value of subscription television services in the United Kingdom, but still a fraction of the £64 billion pay-television market in the United States.

In comparison, the United Kingdom generates television revenues of £1.2 billion through the sales to international markets, half of that through sales of finished programmes to broadcasters.

Although a significant sum, the total exports of television programmes from the United Kingdom represent less than 0.5% of the total value of the global television market. One might wonder whether there is an opportunity to raise more revenue by going direct to viewers worldwide.

The International Communications Market Report contains a range of comparative statistics and is available to download from the Ofcom web site.