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It’s good to talk! PRimage on women and mobile phones ….

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
Despite all the usual jokes and gender stereotypes of women talking on the phone all the time, when it comes to mobile cell phones men are more likely to place a call according to a new Pew Research study: Fascinating!
Seems that on average, male cell phone users place 13.8 calls perday, compared to only 10.8 for women.

INTERNET USAGE & SOCIAL NETWORKING ON THE UP! – PRIMAGE COMMENT

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

There have been significant changes in the way people connect to the Internet in recent years – and PRimage always keeps apace with these trends, for our communications insights and for our client projects.  So, Judy Viitanen has been reviewing the new statistic released today in the National Statistics Opinions Survey on how British consumers/individuals access the Internet and why.  

It’s great news to know that19 million households in Great Britain now have an Internet connection! This represented 77 per cent of households, up from 73 per cent in 2010.  The data is fascinating – and very encouraging for everyone like PRimage who do work in the social media arena.  Judy and the PRimage team are especially interested in the insights that the data reveals as to extent to which young people communicate via social networking.

These stats are really valuable in that they give the most up-to-date picture yet of the growing role mobile is playing in the digital divide: 45 percent of the Internet-using population has taken to mobile devices to go online in the past year. And PRimage believe that the rise in usage among 16-24 year-olds is most impressive: 71 percent today are using mobile devices to go online, compared to 44 percent only a year ago. In the last 12 months, six million people accessed the Internet for the very first time on their mobile phones.

The figures also highlight how much smartphones and advanced feature phones, combined with low-cost data plans and WiFi, are transforming how the internet is consumed. It looks like the UK is standing out as one of the leaders in this sense.

PRimage also follows trends in the US in this area, and we have noted that although it’s not a 100%, like-for-like comparison, but as a point of reference, comScore has recently released data that showed that in the U.S. some 41 percent of consumers used the mobile web browsers on their handsets in the last three months.

Our PRimage comms work covers a lot of messaging and marketing on social media sites, so we were not surprised to see that social networking proved to be the most popular activity among 16 to 24 year old Internet users in 2011, with 91 per cent saying they took part in social networking on websites such as Facebook or Twitter.  

However, we were encouraged that this was not an activity limited to the younger age groups, with almost one fifth (18 per cent) of Internet users aged 65 and over – indicating that they participated in social networking. In our view there’s a lot of opportunity to max this! Overall, social networking was more popular among women, at 60 per cent, than men, at 54 per cent.

Men were more likely to participate in professional networking over sites such as LinkedIn in 2011, with 16 per cent of male Internet users having used this online facility compared to just 9 per cent of women. It was most popular among those aged 25 to 34, with 18 per cent using these sites.

Other key stats of interest include:

  • Using the Internet to sell goods or services, for example via auction sites such as eBay, saw large growth in 2011. Over 12 million people, at 31 per cent of Internet users, sold goods or services online, compared to 7.9 million (21 per cent) in 2010. Just under half of those aged 25 to 34 (45 per cent) used the Internet for this activity.

In 2011 almost half of Internet users connected to the Internet, using a mobile phone, while away from the home or office. There were 17.6 million mobile phone Internet users in 2011, representing 45 per cent of Internet users, compared to 8.5 million users (23 per cent) in 2009.

  • Just over one in five (21 per cent) Internet users made telephone or video calls online in 2011. This activity is one which is not dominated by a specific age group, with older age groups showing similar patterns of use to the younger age groups. Of those aged 65 and over, 17 per cent used this technology, compared to 22 per cent of those under 24.

Overall, the UK has some 37.7 million Internet users at the moment. That means that nearly 17 million of us have used our mobile phones to access the mobile internet.

  • Other “mobile” devices such as laptops and tablets are also making a big impact: 38 percent of people say they have used these kinds of devices to access the internet. That’s on top of mobile phone usage, by the way.
  • WiFi is big: usage of hotspots has doubled in the last year to 4.9 million users (13 percent of internet users).
  • People over the age of 65 are the least likely to use a mobile to access the internet—only eight percent of internet users in that age group have used mobile devices to do this. (A market opportunity?)
  • In terms of what it is that people are doing when they go online, it looks like social networking is a key driver of usage. Among adults, 57 percent say they have used social networks online, compared to 43 percent a year ago. Among that much-coveted demographic of 16-24 year-olds, the number is amazingly high: 91 percent. To compare to the comScore, in the U.S., around 30 of mobile phone users in the country used their devices to access social networks.

GB Household Internet Usage

Year Per cent  
2007 61  
2008 65  
2009 70  
2010 73  
2011 77  
Base: All GB households    
     
     
 Household Internet  
type, GB, 2007 and 2011  
Year Broadband Dial up
2007 84 16
2011 93 2
Base: All GB households    
     

The use of wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots also increased markedly with 4.9 million people using hotspots at hotels, restaurants, airports etc., compared to 0.7 million people in 2007.

Housing crisis in UK – ‘generation-rent’? PRimage comment

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

PRimage had just been reading a new report released today on the crisis in the UK housing market – which forecasts that home ownership in England will slump to just 63.8% over the next decade.  The National Housing Federation report also forecasts steep rises in the private rental sector and a house price boom. It blames the bleak outlook on an under-supply of homes in the UK.

So, for the UK it looks like we are heading for a ‘generation-rent’ scenario! And market trends will follow those in the US. Certainly many young people now face decades of renting!

PRimage believes the NHF are right to highlight stark statistics which show that last year, the number of new homes built reached the lowest in peacetime since 1923 – and correct in blaming declining home ownership on banks setting too lenient lending criteria and too small deposits.  The Government needs to take immediate action to tackle this crisis and the chronically low supply of homes. From what Judy Viitanen understands, reading the report and comments from industry experts, the difficulties of raising deposits and obtaining mortgages are one side of the problem. The other is housing supply. It is, though, a bit of a catch-22.  The major developers say they are willing and ready to build more homes. But they worry that they won’t be able to sell them, because potential buyers will not be able to raise the finance.  The dilemma for policy makers is how to escape this damaging cycle, of restricted supply leading to high prices, which leads to curtailed demand, resulting in unwillingness to build

  • In England, the proportion of people living in owner-occupied homes will fall from a peak of 72.5% in 2001 to 63.8% in 2021.
  • In London, the majority of people will rent by 2021, with the number of owner-occupiers falling from 51.6% in 2010 to 44% by 2021
  • Average rents for apartments and single family homes in the private sector are forecast to increase by 19.8% over the next five years, fuelled by high demand and a shortage of properties.

 

The benefits of a daily siesta – PRimage view

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

A 2007 study of more than 23,000 Greek adults may have revealed a surprising key to their legendary vigor—the siesta. Compared with those who power through the day, adults who nap for a minimum of 30 minutes at least three times a week have a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.

Having lived in Greece, Judy Viitanen is a big fan of the benefits of a daily siesta, or power nap – especially in the hot weather. She finds that a daily ‘cat nap’ really helps recharge her energy levels – and helps her pace herself when she’s going to have a late night, or burning the midnight oil on work projects.  

Judy’s recipe for Chicken Fricassee … PRimage recommend!

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

This is a fantastic and yummy recipe – which is so easy to cook – and is sure to please everyone. I do hope you like it as much as we do!

Serves 4: Ingredients

• 4 large chicken fillets or one 3lb chicken jointed and cut into portions

• 2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 tablespoons flour

• 1 large cup dry white wine – ideally Chablis

• 3 smallish cups chicken stock

• 8 oz small button mushrooms and 2 carrots finely julienned

• 16 small white onions and half a bell pepper, finely sliced

• Bouquet garni and finely chopped fresh tarragon, parsley and thyme

• Salt and ground pepper to taste

• 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 finely chopped plump garlic cloves

• 1 tsp sugar

• 8 tablespoons heavy cream

• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley to garnish

Method

• Heat the oil and butter in a flameproof casserole dish.

• Add chicken pieces and brown on all sides. (This is to sear them)

• Sprinkle with the flour, coating them all over. Add one chopped garlic clove

• Cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes.

• Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.

• Slowly add the chicken broth.

• Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to simmering point.

• Add the bouquet garni and herbs and season to taste.

• Simmer gently for about 45 minutes until chicken is tender – half-way through cooking, add extra wine/stock if needed

• In a separate pan, heat the remaining butter and cook the mushrooms and the finely chopped bell pepper and garlic clove with the lemon juice until they are golden brown.

• Put the mushrooms, garlic and pepper slices in a warm bowl and set aside. Drain some of the buttery veggie juices from the cooking pan into the bowl

• Add the onions, thin strips of carrot, water and sugar, to the pan mix well and simmer until tender.

• Strain and add the onions/carrot strips into the bowl with the mushrooms/peppers.

• When the chicken is cooked, transfer to a warm serving dish and keep to one side.

• Add the vegetable juices from the pan (too nice to throw away- gives a good flavour!) to the casserole dish and bring to the boil stirring frequently.

• When the sauce is reduced, whisk the cream in and cook for about 2 minutes.

• Finally, add the mushrooms and onions and cook for a further 2 minutes.

• Taste it at this stage and season to your liking.

• Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!

Have mashed potatoes or rice, plus green veggie to accompany

Is the US a renter or home-owning nation? ….

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Mixed messaging and news reports today on the U.S. housing sector …. Latest analyst projections show pent-up demand for rental housing in the wake of the credit crunch. Americans who rented out properties gained $3.3 billion in total income from that endeavour during the month of May, up from $2.9 billion in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But the latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows that nearly nine in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American dream – and they are keen on making sure it stays that way, for themselves and everyone else.

NHS Bill: Sound bites round-up

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

PRimage has been busy assessing reactions from various healthcare bodies to the NHS Bill, announced this afternoon … Lansley has had to contend with a huge amount of criticism of his NHS reforms, much of it dramatically expressed, by many of they key organisations representing doctors and other NHS organisations. Public supporters have been hard to find amongst the host of warnings and reservations! Judy Viitanen especially enjoyed the Titanic analogy used by Unison, who said that the Health Bill is a ‘disaster’ of Titanic proportions’ and which threatens to sink our NHS”

Here’s a listing of top line sound bites …
RCGP
‘makes sense’ for health professionals to be involved in the planning of services, but the proposals risk ‘destabilising the NHS and causing long-term harm to patient outcomes’

‘we must guard against fragmentation and unnecessary duplication within a health service that is run by a wide array of competing public, private and voluntary sector providers, that delivers less choice and fewer services, reduces integration between primary and secondary care and increases bureaucratic costs’.

Patient choices as outlined in the Bill ‘run a risk of destabilising the NHS and causing long-term harm to patient outcomes’. The RCGP has also yet to receive sufficient evidence to be reassured the plans would prevent this from happening.

BMA
The BMA said ploughing ahead with the reforms at the speed proposed was a ‘massive gamble’.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said: ‘The BMA supports greater involvement of clinicians in planning and shaping NHS services, but the benefits that clinician-led commissioning can bring are threatened by other parts of the Bill.’

‘Forcing commissioners of care to tender contracts to any willing provider, including NHS providers, voluntary sector organisations and commercial companies, could destabilise local health economies and fragment care for patients.

‘Adding price competition into the mix could also allow large commercial companies to enter the NHS market and chase the most profitable contracts, using their size to undercut on price, which could ultimately damage local services.’

Royal College of Physicians
Supports the shift towards putting clinicians and patients in the driving seat but is concerned the Bill doesn’t require specialists to be at the heart of commissioning.
‘The scale and pace of change – and the challenge of unprecedented efficiency savings – should not be underestimated. Neither should the risks if we get this wrong.’

Unison
The public sector union, called the Health Bill a ‘disaster’ of Titanic proportions’. Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, said: ‘This Titanic health bill threatens to sink our NHS. The only survivors will be the private health companies that are circling like sharks, waiting to move in and make a killing.

‘Lansley has turned his back on the warnings from across the medical establishment that these changes are unnecessary, undemocratic and unlikely to deliver improvements in patient care. We need a U-turn from the Government.’

Unite
Bill is ‘a charter for private profit at the expense of patients care’.
‘It is clear that one of the biggest influences on Tory ideology regarding health policy has been the massive and insidious lobbying by the  private healthcare companies, which have opened their cheque books for David Cameron big-time.’
‘The GP consortia, the supposed vanguard of this so-called reform programme, will be juggling financial decisions with the help of the private healthcare companies they will buy-in, versus the needs of their patients – this is a stark conflict of interest. Patients should always come first.’

The Nuffield Trust
Reforms are ‘broadly in the right direction’ but they will have to be judged on the extent to which they deliver – with minimum disruption – sustained improvements to patient care during a period of major financial challenge for the NHS.

‘The NHS is at a fork in the road. It embarks on this period of reform with much strength but the pressures it faces over the next four years will continue to rise. ‘Given the reforms over the past 20 years the Government’s decision to devolve more responsibility to the front line is logical. However, this approach carries significant risks in today’s financial climate and needs to be managed very carefully.’

General Healthcare Group
The UK’s largest private hospital group, welcomed the proposed reforms and said it was ‘only right’ the NHS, private and third sector providers worked together in austere times.
‘In our view, the challenge for instituting these reforms will be about maintaining the pace of change and how instability during the period of transition is minimised.’

The King’s Fund
The Bill signals the biggest shake-up of the NHS since its inception
‘But, while the government’s reforms have the potential to improve the NHS, they will be implemented against the backdrop of the biggest financial challenge in its history. ‘Finding the £20bn in efficiency savings needed to maintain services must be the overriding priority, so the very real risk that the speed and scale of the reforms could destabilise the NHS and undermine care must be actively managed.’

NHS Confederation
Urged MPs to ‘forensically analyse’ the Health Bill.

‘We support the objectives behind this legislation but there are huge risks and major uncertainties associated with it. ‘The system is already geared up for change and we can not afford for these reforms to fail – the public will not forgive us. The focus in parliament has to be on making this work on behalf of patients.’

CBI
‘We support the Government’s plans to modernise the NHS, because this will lead to better services for patients, and ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely. ‘Allowing the best provider to deliver healthcare services, whether they are a private company or a charity, will spur innovation and choice. But bidders must be able to compete for contracts on a level playing field.’

NHS Bill – A Healthy Prescription?: PRimage comment

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

As PRimage see it there are pros and cons for this radical overhaul of the NHS. It’s a huge risk – and yes, of course it will bring massive organisational upheaval – but we should remember that the Govt needs to find 4% NHS efficiency savings a year for 4 years to keep up with rising demand!

The new policies will mean ministers essentially giving up day to day management of the service – opting instead to set annual priorities and measures of improved health outcomes for a national commissioning board. This board will performance-manage consortia of GPs to whom it will have to hand well over half the English NMS’s £100bn budget, with which to commission care locally. The worry is that this commissioning board will simply be a substitute DoH – but without a public health remit.

PRimage MD, Judy Viitanen, is a former District Councillor – and strong supporter of localism – so she’sencouraged by the policy to transfer much of public health to local authorities, who in turn will get strengthened scrutiny powers over GPs’ plans. And as a healthcare communicator and lobbyist, she is hoping that increased NHS investment in clinical care, and a focus on proactively improving health outcomes will help the treatment of cancer and other serious conditions – and ultimately bring swifter and better care closer to patients.

“12 months to save the NHS” – PRimage comment

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Public services reforms is the headline media story today – as David Cameron defends NHS reform plans, saying: ‘doing nothing will end in tears’ – http://bit.ly/e6T5VU
The key is for Education Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to win over their sternest critics and also win the hearts and minds of the public that these radical changes are what’s needed – and will get results. Everyone in this country faces difficult times ahead – and it’s crucial that that the Government  gets these issues right! …

The Government’s new health policies are aimed at improving NHS performance, reducing bureaucracy and improving the outcomes of treatment for patients. As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage totally agree with this – but Judy Viitanen shares some of the concerns voiced by healthcare professionals that the radical shakeup of the NHS could lead to a two-tier health service.

This country certainly needs to tackle its health and social inequalities – and in our opinion the Dept of Health must start to focus on dealing with health inequalities that those members of the community who either aren’t registered with a GP, or see no value in accessing healthcare, continue to suffer. So in this era of NHS reforms it is critical that reducing inequalities becomes a key focus for frontline health providers: not just GPs, but also community pharmacists.

New year = new positive working ….

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage plan to take inspiration from this collection of time management quotes in order to make the most of our working day and manage our time more effectively. Our mission is to get a good work/life balance in 2011. Make that yours – and ensure that this year you play hard AND work hard!

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr

“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most”
Stephen R. Covey

“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”
Charles Darwin

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
M. Scott Peck

“Never leave ’till tomorrow which you can do today.”
Benjamin Franklin

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Michael Altshuler

“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”
Stephen R. Covey

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
Auguste Rodin

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
Muhammad Ali

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
William Penn

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Nelson Mandela

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
Napoleon Hill

“Do we need more time? Or do we need to be more disciplined with the time we have?”
Kerry Johnson

“The bad news is time flies.  The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Michael Althsuler