In Italy there is a digital boom, 100 million connected screens

ROME – Study, work, sport, entertainment, relationships, purchases, relationships with banks and the public administration: there is no sector of social life that it has not fully entered into digital, transforming the lives of Italians. Running towards modernity. The numbers tell the story: 120 million screens (that’s 5 per family!), of which 48 million smartphones and 43 million televisions; 93 million and 200,000 devices connected to the internet inside homes; and as many as 16 million and 700,000 are Connected TVs, i.e. Smart TVs or TVs with connected external devices, up by 210.9% compared to 2017: in absolute value this means over 11 million more connected television sets in the last five years . And it is the television, often, the gateway to digital.

This is what it certifies Fifth Auditel-Censis Reportsignificantly titled ‘The digital transition of Italians’. The Report is the result of an extraordinary opportunity for social investigation. In fact, it is based on Auditel basic research (7 waves a year, 20,000 homes visited, 41,000 face-to-face interviews) which has three objectives: 1. ascertain the rreal structure and physiognomy of families, tempering and neutralizing all the personal and fiscal effects with which they are often represented; 2. photographing Italian society in all its dimensions, socio-demographic, psycho-graphic, socio-cultural, behavioral; 3. identify potential sample families of the Auditel Superpanel, which must be (and is) constantly renewed.

From the Fifth Auditel-Censis Report emerge, as explained by the Chairman of Auditel, Andrea Imperiali, “the centrality of TV which drives the country’s transformation process in a digital key; a growing adherence to broadband, which is increasingly configured as a basic necessity and no longer an accessory and which under the pressure of the PNRR will have a decisive development; a further increase in equipment (in particular smartphones and Smart TVs) which raises the number of connected screens to a peak of around 100 million”.

In detail:

1. Smart TVs, smartphones and PCs drive spending. Once again consumption is the mirror of society and reflects its transformations and orientations. Computers, Smart TVs, smartphones and accessories are the only items of expenditure that have grown since 2008, and which have also grown during and after the pandemic.

2. Connected screens and above all the Connected TV. More money spent on communication also means more screens in Italian homes: Auditel basic research surveys 120 million, with an average of 5 screens per family: if we consider that the average number of members of a family is 2 ,5 people, means that today in many homes there are more screens than individuals. It is not enough. Auditel Basic Search records 93 million and 200,000 devices connected to the internet inside homes. In 2017 they were just under 74 million.

3. 48 million smartphones, 43 million televisions. In first place, among the devices, there are 48 million smartphones, increased by over 6 million from 2017 to today. There are around 43 million televisions, present in 97.3% of homes: 16 million and 700,000 devices are Connected TVs, i.e. Smart TVs or TVs with connected external devices, up by 210.9% compared to 2017, which in absolute value means over 11 million more connected television sets in the last five years.

4. Almost all families are digitized. But there is still work to be done… The current situation sees the vast majority of Italian families, 87.2% of the total, who have at least one connected device at home in addition to the TV, linear or Smart, with almost 5 million families who have definitively settled into digital and have a complete kit that includes at least a Smart TV, a smartphone, a computer and a tablet. 2 million and 300,000 households remain, where about 3 million individuals live, almost all of them over 65, who are not connected. And 3,000 nuclei that do not have any devices remain excluded from modernity; and, above all, almost 2 million families who only own linear TV and don’t even have a smartphone. They are the same families, made up mostly of single elderly people, who are not connected to the web.

5. To make the last leap into modernity, the will be decisive PNRR. There are still 3 million and 500,000 televisions that date back to before 2011 and, presumably, are in no way compatible with the transition to second generation digital terrestrial. To these must be added over 11 million televisions for which it is not possible to reconstruct the exact date of purchase and which may not be able to support the new technology. The next five years promise to be decisive in recovering the pockets of exclusion and marginalization from digital life. The switch-off will help. But the decisive boost will come from the PNRR, which has allocated 6.7 billion euros to connect all of Italy by 2026 with very high-speed networks.

On the sidelines of the presentation to the Senate, Imperiali added that the report “proves, once again, to be a valuable tool for those who have the task of leading the country and for the marketespecially in this phase of great development and change with all the growth opportunities deriving from the PNRR and the extraordinary recovery of Italy after the difficult months of the pandemic”.

Giuseppe De Rita, president of Censis, he observed that “in the five years digital has definitively become part of Italian daily life, and we with Auditel have recounted it, and we have also reaffirmed the centrality of television, which today is Smart-TV. The next five years will be decisive for promoting the inclusion of those left out of digital: for this reason it is essential to carry the broadband connection and support the connection demand of the most fragile”.

According to Maurizio Gasparri, Vice President of the Senate of the Republic, Auditel and Censis “are great sources of knowledge. The data of the Fifth Report are encouraging because they photograph an important progress in the country system. It is evident, in fact, that the field has widened. The overabundance and plurality of information are a great opportunity, but at the same time we need to fight fake news”.

For Alberto Barachini, Undersecretary for Information and Publishing, the report confirms “the country’s hyperconnection and the proliferation of connected devices. Digitization has made life easier for Italianstherefore, on this front the information and publishing department will have to apply itself to reconsolidate the authority and credibility of communication. A mutual responsibility of operators in the sector is due, in order to return a correct service to citizens. We must commit ourselves to respecting the ethical rules, which are solid barriers in this moment of transition”.

Gian Carlo Blangiardo, president of Istat, explained that “the Fifth Auditel-Censis Report highlights a world that is changing as a result of digitalisation. Looking ahead, according to our data, families will be fewer and fewer. Thus, the phenomenon of progressive aging of the predominantly female population will be accentuated. In this sense, the feeling with technological tools of increasingly elderly people will remain a problem. The second theme concerns the growth of families in absolute poverty, that must be taken into consideration”.

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In Italy there is a digital boom, 100 million connected screens