PEOPLE are spending almost half their waking hours watching TV and using their mobiles and other communications gadgets, a study said today.
The research -- the first to track exactly how long consumers spend using various media -- found the average person spends 45pc of their time awake absorbing media or communicating via gadgets.
They are sending four times as many texts a day as they were in 2004 and spending almost a quarter of their time on the internet or social networking sites.
People are also using several types of media at the same time, with the average person cramming eight hours and 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours during the average day.
Younger people are even more adept at multi-tasking, cramming nearly five hours of media usage into just under two hours a day.
The report found traditional TV and radio is holding its own, with the average person watching TV for three hours and 45 minutes a day and evening programmes in particular retaining their popularity.
The popularity of TV has been boosted by the strong growth of digital video recorders -- almost four in ten of households now own one -- and the introduction of high definition (HD). Nearly a quarter of respondents (22pc) said they had bought an HD-ready TV set in the past few years, despite the economic downturn.
The divide between younger and older people's use of technology is narrowing.
That's helped by more over 55s now having broadband at home -- the fastest growing rate of all the age groups.
The smartphone and the changing way consumers use mobiles is increasing the overall use of communications, often simultaneously, the study carried out in the UK found.
The number of people who surf the internet on their mobile is up by half in the past year.
And the number of smartphone users has more than doubled in the past two years.
The annual Communications Market Report into the UK's TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries was carried out by UK regulator Ofcom.
Peter Phillips, Ofcom partner in strategy and market developments, said: "For the first time we can see just how central media and communications are to our lives."
The research suggests that almost half an adult's waking hours are now spent 'plugged in' to some communications.