Advanced Television

Smart TVs in a third of Australian homes

June 12, 2015

The latest Australian Multi-Screen Report – from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen, and covering the first quarter of calendar 2015 – explores household take-up of new screen technologies and trends in how major age groups view broadcast television and other video across multiple screens.

It also presents new findings about Australians’ claimed use of and attitudes towards various screen types: the devices they prefer to use for different activities, and the extent to which they use more than one screen simultaneously (‘multi-screening’).

Among the key trends:

  • Television is still dominant.

    All age groups spend the majority of their viewing time watching broadcast television on in-home TV sets: across the population and screen types 88.4 per cent of all viewing takes place on the TV set.

In Q1 2015 Australians watched an average 89 hours and 28 minutes (89:28) of broadcast television – free-to-air and subscription channels – on in-home television sets each month (down from 93:16 in Q1 2014).

The average weekly reach however for Australian broadcast television was little changed on the same quarter of 2014 and 2013, at 88−89 per cent of the population.

22.158 million Australians watched broadcast television each month during Q1 2015.

  • The way people use their television sets is changing.

    The proportion of time spent viewing live television has dropped gradually in each of the past five years, while playback viewing through the TV set within seven days of original broadcast continues to rise.

    Even so, 91.6 per cent of all broadcast TV viewed on television sets is still watched at the time of original broadcast (live-to-air).

Meanwhile an increasing proportion of the time people spend with the TV now goes to activities other than watching broadcast television. This other TV screen use follows the take-up of Internet-capable TVs – now in nearly one third of homes – along with growth in viewing of TV content between 8 and 28 days from original (live) broadcast.

For example, in the four-week period 22 February – 21 March 2015 this 8-28 day playback viewing (which does not appear in the playback figures within OzTAM and Regional TAM Consolidated data) accounted for 1.66 per cent of all TV viewing time across the day (up from 1.06 per cent in the same four-week period a year ago).

  • Australians’ use of connected mobile devices to watch video is growing but remains relatively small.

    Across the population as a whole watching video is not the primary activity Australians undertake on their mobile screens. 11.6 per cent of all video viewing – both broadcast and non-broadcast content – happens on screens other than the TV.

    Viewing habits are evolving though, with people under age 35 in particular increasingly using internet-connected devices to watch video. [Please see ‘Evolving Viewing Patterns by Age Group’ below for details].


Smartphones have the fastest adoption rate: 77 per cent of Australians aged 16+ now own one, up from 69 per cent a year ago.

The rate at which households are introducing Internet-capable TVs and tablets is slowing, now in 30 per cent and 47 per cent of homes, respectively.

Household personal video recorder (PVR) penetration has levelled off at 56 per cent.


As Australians adopt new screens and technologies they have more choice as to what, when, where and how they watch TV and other video.

This in turn affects the time people spend with these devices.

Viewing habits are changing – notably with younger audiences who increasingly use internet-connected devices to watch TV and other video. People of all ages however still spend the majority of their viewing time watching broadcast television on in-home TV sets.


Nielsen’s annual Australian Connected Consumers report shows 75 per cent of online Australians aged 16 and over say they ever ‘multi-screen’, that is, use an internet-connected device while watching television (74 per cent a year ago.)

Slightly more women say they have multi-screened than men (76 per cent compared to 73 per cent).

More than one third of multi-screeners say they do so daily and 85 per cent report doing so at least once a week.

31 per cent of online Australians aged 16+ say they ‘triple-screen’ – up from 26 per cent the previous year.

Across the population people who multi-screen say they most often use their laptop/notebook computers for this activity, followed by smartphones, desktop computers and then tablets. Laptops are still dominant but mobile devices are now the second most used, in the past year overtaking the desktop PC.

The activities people most often undertake on various devices differ and reflect both screen size and where the devices are used.

For example the desktop or laptop computer are used at home and are still where much online access takes place.  Smartphone use however reflects the fact they are most often used outside the home. People also use their smartphones to check social media more often than on other devices.

Tablet activities are closer to those on desktop/laptops, as they too are widely used in the home. However search plays a more important role on tablets, along with updating or browsing social media and watching online video.

Regional TAM Chair and NBN Television CEO Deborah Wright commented: “The review of playback viewing beyond seven days that is featured within this latest Multi-Screen Report shows us that more Australians are viewing broadcast television content outside the seven-day window compared to previous years. Regional Australian households continue to consume more ‘live’ television than the national average but they have also shown growth year on year in the 8-28 day playback segment.”

OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer said: “Australians now have a remarkable range of options for watching their favourite television programs. Overall, nine in ten people watch broadcast TV each week, averaging nearly three hours of ‘traditional’ TV viewing per day across the population. We continue to see Australians spend a little less time at the ‘full buffet’ of live linear television and a little more time viewing ‘a la carte’, watching their favourite TV shows when they want. Also, there is an increase in time shift viewing beyond seven days, as reported in this quarter. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this evolving behaviour.”

Craig Johnson, Head of Nielsen’s Reach Solutions, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific said: “People are continuing to evolve the way they consume media and are leveraging technology more, and, in increasingly varied ways. The TV screen remains the core of this consumption and a key vehicle for advertisers to reach consumers. Playback continues to grow as does delayed viewing with an increase in 8-28 days, showing that people are more prepared than ever to watch content at their own convenience.”



  • Australians watch on average 89 hours and 28 minutes (89:28) of broadcast TV on traditional television sets per month (year-on-year down 3:48 per month).
  • 91.6 per cent of all broadcast TV viewing is live (81:57) with playback of broadcast content through the TV set within seven days of original broadcast comprising 8.4 per cent (7:31 per month, up 16 minutes/month YOY).
  • 22.158 million Australians watch broadcast television each month, with average weekly reach at 88-89 per cent of the population.
  • 100 per cent of Australian television homes can access digital terrestrial television (DTT) channels. 96 per cent can do so on every working household TV set.
  • 56 per cent of homes have PVRs; 15 per cent have two or more (Q1 2014: 54 per cent; 14 per cent).
  • 30 per cent of homes have internet-capable TVs, whether connected or not (Q1 2014: 27 per cent).
  • 47 per cent of homes have tablets (level with Q4 2014, and up from 42 per cent in Q1 2014).
  • 77 per cent of Australians aged 16+ own a smartphone (69 per cent in Q1 2014).
  • Household internet penetration is stable at 80 per cent.
  • Australians spend on average 35:51 per month online (38:41 in Q1 2014).
  • 13.343 million Australians watch some video on the Internet each month (including broadcast TV and non-broadcast content): an average of 6:57 per month (down 51 minutes from 7:48 a year ago). Such viewing is highest among people aged 18-24 (11:11 per month).
  • 88.4 per cent of all video viewing– across all screens, and including broadcast and non-broadcast content – is on the traditional TV set:

o   89:28 per month on the TV set (88.4 per cent)

o   6:57 per month online via PCs/laptops (6.9 per cent)

o   2:47 per month on smartphones (2.7 per cent)

o   2:03 per month on tablets (2 per cent)


Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Companion devices, Connected TV, Consumer Behaviour, Equipment, Markets, Mobile, OTT, Portable Media, Research