But Seriously, We'd Rather Discuss Current Affairs Than Celebs

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- Celebrity gossip dropped in favour of 'Credit Crunch' talk. - One third of people prefer chatting to chocolate. - The perfect telephone call should last 9 minutes and 36 seconds.

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And with free weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines in 20 overseas countries, Post Office® HomePhone can help people manage the purse strings and benefit from the feel good factor of a good natter at the same time.

Current affairs are quashing our thirst for celebrity gossip -- and we're more likely to be discussing the state of the economy than X-Factor on the phone, according to a new study out today.

By shunning the latest Simon Cowell discovery or tabloid kiss-and-tell and embracing big financial stories like the recent collapse of Lehman Brothers, the research reveals that people are getting more from their phone calls than the standard, "How's the weather where you are?"

The research, by Post Office® Telecoms, also reveals that with the right mix of subjects, a call to a loved one can have more of an impact on our emotional wellbeing than other creature comforts.

And the good news for dieters is that 31 per cent of people in the UK claim to feel better after a good conversation than they do after eating a bar of chocolate.

The results show that nearly half (48 per cent) of Scots would shun a cup of tea in favour of a phone call and one in five people in the South West feel better after talking to a loved one than after indulging in a sensuous massage.

And people are quite particular about what makes up the ideal phone conversation. With the credit crunch at the forefront of our minds, 42 seconds of the perfect, feel-good, conversation should be taken up by current affairs; with celebrity gossip accounting for just under 12 seconds of the call.

The research also shows that silence really is golden, with 12 seconds of the perfect phone call consisting of no conversation at all.

According to the study, the perfect call should last 9 minutes and 36 seconds and contain the following:

  •     News about family/friends        3 minutes
  •     Laughter                1 min 42 seconds
  •     Discussion of personal problems        1 minute
  •     Discussion of work/school        1 minute
  •     Current affairs                42 seconds
  •     Weather                    24 seconds
  •     Talk about the opposite sex        24 seconds
  •     Silence                    12 seconds
  •     Celebrity gossip            12 seconds
  •     Other topics                1 minute

Psychotherapist and agony aunt, Christine Webber explained: "A really good natter on the phone can massively boost our feel-good factor. The world is a pretty uncertain place at the moment, and hearing the voice of someone who matters down the end of the phone can really mean a lot -- even though we may be miles apart.

"Contact with friends or family is important for good mental health. And research shows it's good for our physical health too, with various reports claiming that regular contact with friends or family brings down blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and may even stave off dementia."

Hugh Stacey, head of HomePhone at the Post Office®, added: "Just a few months ago very few people put the words 'credit' and 'crunch' together -- and now talk is of little else. Our study shows that people want to share their feelings about the effects of the financial squeeze and there's no better way of doing that than by chatting on the phone to friends and family.

"And with free weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines in 20 overseas countries, Post Office® HomePhone can help people manage the purse strings and benefit from the feel good factor of a good natter at the same time."

The Post Office's® HomePhone service has already won more than 400,000 customers with the lowest line rental prices of any major provider. To find out more call 0800 092 0500, visit postoffice.co.uk or ask at any of our 12,500 Post Office® branches.

The Post Office® offers a range of great value telephony products and services:
Post Office Broadband and HomePhone
The new Post Office® Broadband service was launched in October 2007 and offers customers a cash prepayment option, fast connection speeds, no rural surcharges and a range of great value packages, including bundles with the Post Office®'s telephone service - HomePhone.

Post Office® 118855
Its directory enquiries service - 118855 - offers one of the most competitive prices on the market with all calls charged at a flat rate of 40p (no per minute charges). Customers can get two searches per call and free text back to mobiles.
Phonecards and E Top-ups
Post Office® branches offer a range of great value domestic and international phonecards and a convenient E Top-up service for mobile phones.

Other Post Office® services include home contents insurance, auto insurance and foreign exchange available at postoffice.co.uk.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,054 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd and 25th September 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

*Free calls to mobiles phones in USA and Canada and 18 further overseas landline destinations are available at weekends through Post Office HomePhone®. Calls are free up to 60 minutes, 5 pence per min thereafter, from 6pm Friday to 6am Monday. Service starts 8 September 2008. Countries included in the offer are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA

For further information please contact:

3 Monkeys Communications
Gemma Shaw/Redzi Mangwana/Christine Jewell
020 7440 2410

Post Office Ltd
Hayley Fowell
020 7250 2417

Notes to Editors
Post Office Ltd Registered in England and Wales no: 2154540 Registered Office: 80-86 Old Street London, EC1V 9NN
The Post Office and the Post Office symbol are registered trade marks of Post Office Ltd in the UK and other countries

For the purposes of products regulated under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000, Post Office Ltd is an appointed representative of Bristol & West plc, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England no. 2124201. Registered Office: Bristol & West plc, One Temple Back East, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6DX.

Post Office®, car and home insurance is administered by BISL Limited, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, Registered in England No 3231094.Registered office: Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6YS.

Card Account offered by J.P. Morgan Europe Ltd through Post Office Ltd. J.P. Morgan Europe Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 938937. Registered Office: 125 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5AJ.

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