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Australian families increasingly connected

Using the Internet and watching TV share equal status as preferred sources of entertainment according to more than 2,000 Australians in Deloitte’s annual Media Consumer Survey. And social is at the heart of everything they do.

The key findings of the fourth annual Deloitte survey show Australians across four generations and five age groups prefer a balanced diet for their media and entertainment; more so than might have been expected as the consultancy firm observed some key digital tipping points over the last year.

The Deloitte survey shows that 60 per cent of Australians put using the Internet for social or personal reasons in their top three entertainment activities, equal with watching TV on any device. Time spent watching TV and video content has increased to 17.2 hours a week over last year, boosted in part by the advent of mainstream streaming services.

Deloitte Media Partner and a co-author of the report Niki Alcorn said: “Currently Australians spend an average of 44 per cent of their time watching TV and movie content traditionally – as linear broadcasts. However Trailing Millennials – the 14 to 24 year olds – spend only 26 per cent of their viewing time watching linear broadcasts and 31 per cent on streamed content. Our survey was fielded after the launch of Stan and Presto TV, but before the launch of Netflix Australia, so it captures some, but not all of the impact of these new entrants.

“Some 69 per cent of respondents believe that being able to watch content when and where they want is more important than the device they watch it on. And the most important factor to improve the viewing experience for almost a quarter of respondents would be a ‘simpler way to search and find content’.”

Australians usually learn of new content through a mix of traditional and digital means – TV commercials (62 per cent) and friends and family (56 per cent), although social networks are ramping up, especially for Trailing (59 per cent) and Leading Millennials (52 per cent).

Subscribing to the future

“This year we have seen consumers begin to embrace the idea of monthly, low-cost subscriptions across multiple forms of media and entertainment, whether this is video streaming (12 per cent of households) or music streaming (10 per cent of households),” advised Alcorn. Pay-TV subscriptions are holding stable for now (at 39 per cent), but when it comes to Pay TV, Australians would prefer to subscribe only to the content they want to watch – rather than a broader package.”

Seeing the world through social

Both overall engagement with social media and the frequency with which Australians use it are increasing. Now, 80 per cent of Australian respondents use social media, up from 65 per cent in 2012. Fifty nine per cent of survey respondents use social media on a daily basis, and 23 per cent do so more than three times a day.

Deloitte Telco, Media and Technology leader Stuart Johnston said: “Social media use is so ingrained in Australia that for the first time more than half of survey respondents (51 per cent) stated that the time they spend interacting with others through social media is as valuable as the time they spend together in person. In fact social networks have now become social ecosystems. We are now using social to interact with a much wider ‘ecosystem’ of content and information, and we both contribute to and draw from this ecosystem. Keeping up to date with breaking news is one of the top three reasons for using social for 36 per cent of survey respondents. And more than a quarter (26 per cent) of our survey respondents maintain a blog.”

Johnston added that social media in fact presents something of a paradox for business. “Half of us (49 per cent of survey respondents) believe our customer service issues are more effectively raised and resolved through social media, and 55 per cent of respondents say they are able to learn more about a company, brand, product and service through their use of social media than via their website. However, consumers are still wary of the commercial presence in social media, with 59 per cent are concerned with the use of posts and tweets being used for commercial purposes.

“This is useful information for all businesses, no matter whether in the technology, media and telecommunications sector, financial services, public sector, utilities or retail. If more than half of us rely on social media as the best way to connect with businesses, Australian businesses definitely need a social strategy.”

According to Johnston, 81 per cent of Australians are kept spellbound by their smartphones, their most valued device, with for the first time a small reduction in laptop ownership by households to 82 per cent, DVRs (from 46 per cent to 43 per cent) and gaming consoles (55 per cent to 51 per cent). This means that mobile technologies continue to be paramount when it comes to engaging and retaining customers.

“Connectivity is the name of the game,” said Johnston. “The modern Australian family or household is a connected one – with an average of two TVs, two laptops, two tablets and two smartphones!”

Masters of multi-tasking

Deloitte Media Lead Clare Harding said: “This multi-device ownership is just one factor contributing to our love of multi-tasking which is up again this year. Eighty five percent of respondents now multi-task while watching the home TV, compared with 79 per cent last year. On average we do two additional activities while watching TV, but only 25 per cent of multi-taskers are actually involved in activities that relate to the programme they are watching!”

Magazines and news

There was a substantial fall in magazine subscriptions in this year’s survey, with just 15 per cent of households purchasing them compared with 27 per cent in 2012. Nevertheless 60 per cent of respondents who have read a magazine in the last 12 months said they preferred printed copies.

Household ownership of newspaper subscriptions remained relatively stable, not falling any further this year – 21 per cent of households purchased a print or digital news subscription. However, most Australians (89 per cent), are still unwilling to pay for online news, as social media begins to emerge as a more popular news source. Nine per cent of survey respondents reported social media as their most frequently used source of news, equal to print newspapers and radio news.

Advertising

Harding said: “When it comes to advertising there are mixed fortunes for mass media. Television ads continue to have the biggest influence on purchase decisions (63 per cent of respondents), but the influence of magazine and newspaper advertising fell further this year (from 48 per cent to 41 per cent and from 50 per cent to 42 per cent respectively). Online personalities and celebrity endorsements are new entrants to the list of influences on buying decisions this year. Both are rated as influential by 27 per cent of respondents.”

She added that the impact of advertisements shown during or after online videos has increased with 40 per cent of respondents now rating this format amongst the most influential on purchases. “Although really capturing the attention of consumers remains a challenge – 34 per cent of survey respondents are looking for the skip button on ads when watching digital programming.”

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