Social and media networks continue to evolve, with many of the major players broadening the scope of their services, resulting in a blurring of the distinction between the two types of network. Video has become more central to social networks, while many networks have entered the world of direct e-commerce.

This report aims to examine which networks consumers’ use, how frequently they use them and the types of activities they carry out. It also looks at consumer attitudes towards social and media networks, particularly in regards to issues of privacy, advertising and online abuse.

Mintel last reported on this market in Social and Media Networks – UK, May 2014.


This report will variously talk about “social networks”, “media networks” and simply “networks”, which can refer to either social or media types.

Social networks

Mintel defines social networks in this report as any networks which have person-to-person interaction at the heart of their offering. The four main networks Mintel includes under this heading in the UK are Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook. These networks are the focus of all analysis in the consumer-focused sections of this report. Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat are not included within social networks.

Media networks

Media networks are defined by Mintel as networks that facilitate person-to-person communication either through the sharing of media, or with a thematic focus on media (such as books, films or games). For example, Tumblr and Pinterest are both media networks with a social element.


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EBITDA Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation
EU European Union
IPO Initial Public Offering
LGBTQ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans or Questioning
VR Virtual Reality
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