Trendspotting #16

A good year for couch potatoes

At least a third of the population of the UK are in need of serious help with their leisure time. Among those with cable and satellite, 35 per cent want even more TV channels, according to the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. Remember, these are people who can already get 30-plus channels. More than 40 per cent of satellite homes say they look forward to digital TV's more than 100 channels. Can this be the same 35 per cent of the population who told O&M that they'd be lost without TV? And 35 to 40 per cent told O&M that they were "looking forward" to Channel 5. Teletubbies isn't a TV programme, it's a third of the country.

Hoovered up

A nice finding of Ogilvy's research is that the public overwhelmingly believes you can trust long-established brands. Almost 60 per cent agree with that statement. Now what could be more "established" than a brand name that has become the generic term for dust-sucking carpet cleaners? Hoover, you would think, on the basis of its longevity, must be one of the country's most trusted brands. Perhaps the 10 per cent who disagreed with the statement thought they were getting a free flight.

Loaded question

Loaded has always been perceived as being about sex, drugs and football. In fact, it is a magazine heavily designed to sell booze and fags. According to Media Week, Loaded's largest advertiser in the year to April was Gallaher Tobacco, which spent pounds 77,000, just ahead of Whitbread Beer (pounds 75,000). The number three spot was taken by International Distillers and Vintners - of Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo Tequila. In a neat illustration of the screwed-up health ethic of twentysomething men, the rest of the top 10 is taken up by Rothmans, Adidas, Nike and Fila.

Women, the workers

Technology, it is believed, will replicate the divisions that already exist in society. Middle-class males, already financially and educationally advantaged, will make the most of the digital revolution. However, this argument forgets about the sweat raised by the white heat of revolution. Most PC use is at work, much of it in financial services. All that inputting of financial information is by lower paid women, and women spend on average 4.2 hours a day using a PC, compared with men who do 3.7 hours, according to the O&M study. More illuminating, C1s and C2s spend more time on PCs than the AB group.

How the viewers were bought

The BBC's sports coverage has taken a tumble in viewers' estimation. A survey by the media specialist CIA found that the number of viewers who thought the BBC had the best coverage fell from 40 per cent to 30 per cent this year, while Sky Sports moved ahead to 32 per cent. The only surprise should be that Sky's lead is so small, considering how much it has spent on exclusive rights. Still, Sky is not about popularity so much as profitabilityn

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