Survey: Australians watching more TV/video content

According to Kimberly Chang, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader at consulting firm Deloitte, the demise of media is an oft-told story, but Deloitte’s 2017 Media Consumer Survey shows that there is much in how Australian consumers are behaving that is positive for the media industry.

“Not only is watching TV and video content on any device the preferred entertainment activity for 59 per cent of Australians (alongside browsing the internet), we are also watching more videos or TV show content each week than ever before and we are binge watching for longer,” she said.

“Our report shows we are seeing a rise, not demise, of the viewing of TV-type content. However, we are now watching the content in very different ways, particularly through Subscription Video On Demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix or Stan. Australians are combining a number of sources to get more of the content they want, and when they want it,” said Chang.

Overall, Australians are watching an average of 17.5 hours of content per week in 2017, compared with 17.2 hours in 2015.1 Of all age groups, those over 50 (Boomers and Matures) have increased their viewing the most by 1.3 and 1.7 additional hours per week respectively.

The majority (59 per cent) of survey respondents are binging by watching three or more consecutive TV episodes in a single sitting. Nearly one third of respondents (29 per cent) do so weekly, and the average length of a binge session has increased from five to six episodes in the past year (4.5 hours).

Deloitte Consulting Media Leader and co-author of the report, Niki Alcorn, said that the data shows that Australians have embraced technology that further enables their viewing experiences. Fifty per cent of respondents now own IP-enabled TVs, and ownership of over-the-top boxes and portable streaming devices is at 26 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Subscriptions to SVoD (video on demand) have increased since last year (32 per cent in 2017, up from 22 per cent in 2016), surpassing Pay TV subscriptions for the first time. Further, 32 per cent of SVOD subscribers access multiple services to get the right content: up from just 18 per cent in 2016.

“The data shows that there are some early warning signals for commercial broadcasters around changing consumer patterns in watching live sports and news,” said Alcorn. “News and sport are still what we watch most often live at the time of broadcast, but both have declined markedly over the past two years.”

Fewer than half (45 per cent) of 2017 survey respondents indicated they most often watch the news at the time of broadcast (compared to 63 per cent in 2015) and fewer than a third (29 per cent) of survey respondents most often watch sport at the time of broadcast compared to 38 per cent in 2015.

Traditional forms of accessing news such as TV, print newspapers, radio and magazines are stable this year (used by 55 per cent of respondents in 2017 and 54 per cent in 2016), while 37 per cent most frequently access digital sources for news (down just slightly from 40 per cent last year), suggesting we have reached something of a new balancing act as consumers combine various sources in how they access news content.

There has been a decline in those who use social media to access news (14 per cent in 2017 compared to 18 per cent last year). “This modest decline puts social media sites back on par with online newspapers,” said Alcorn.

“Some of the change might be attributed to the growing awareness of so-called ‘fake news’. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents agree that they have changed the way they access news material online given the prevalence of ‘fake news’,” she said.

The survey further reveals that 65 per cent of respondents agree that they are concerned about the advent of fake news online, and 77 per cent believe that they have been exposed. “Consumers are more cynical about what they read online. However, Australians do not necessarily feel that they need help to discern the truth as 80 per cent of respondents believe they are capable of figuring out what is real and what is fake,” she said.

While the daily usage of social media platforms remains high, there are signs that Australians may be becoming dissatisfied with social media. According to Chang, the data shows that 20 per cent of surveyed social media users don’t enjoy their time on social media, and nearly half spend more time on it that they would like (46 per cent).

“We appear to be getting social media fatigue,” she said. “Daily social media usage has dropped slightly from 61 per cent to 59 per cent over the last year, and 31 per cent of respondents have temporarily or permanently deactivated one or more of their social media accounts in the past year,” she said. “Both trends are driven primarily by Leading Millennials.”

The survey shows that 29 per cent of respondents spend more effort maintaining their social media image and connections than they do in-person relationships. This behaviour is most prevalent among Leading Millennials (43 per cent). “Perhaps the effort required to curate a certain image on social media is contributing to their dissatisfaction,” said Chang.

Other highlights:

  • Advertising influencers: After word of mouth and its digital equivalent (online reviews from someone we know), TV advertisements have the greatest influence on advertising decisions (53 per cent reporting high or medium influence) The influence of social media advertising has continued to grow this year (36 per cent) to now be on par with news, magazines, radio and billboards.
  • Privacy: 70 per cent of survey respondents are worried about becoming victims of identity theft as a result of sharing information online, compared to 74 per cent last year.
  • Avoiding paying for video advertising: Most survey respondents will skip an ad playing before a video (77 per cent), and half (50 per cent) will abandon a short video completely if they cannot skip the pre-roll ad. One third (31 per cent) use ad-blocking technology to avoid ads altogether.
  • Paying for online news: 90 per cent of Australians remain unwilling to pay for online news. Of those that will pay, trust in the brand and in-depth news analysis being the primary reasons they will pay
  • Myth-busting the gamer stereotypes: Gamers are not just young males: females (35 per cent) are gaming just as frequently as males (36 per cent), or at least once a week. The most popular games for females are card or puzzle games on a smartphone, while for males are first person shooting games on gaming consoles.

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