Advanced Television

Research: Australians embrace new content and platform options

July 10, 2017

The Q1 (January-March) 2017 Australian Video Viewing Report – from audience research bodies Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen – shows video viewing behaviour continues to shift with growing content, device and platform choices.

The report examines the times of day when Australians watch video as well as the amount of time they devote to doing so for a more complete perspective on changing viewing patterns.

For instance, at home – where most video viewing takes place – Australians have numerous options, and this encourages the cross-screen ‘spreading’ behaviour observed for several years.

That in turn contributes to the steady and gradual decline in the amount of time Australians spend watching live and time-shifted TV – particularly in the evenings, when people generally have the most available time.

Meanwhile, now-ubiquitous connected mobile devices allow people to consume video at different times of day, including when they are outside the home. For some people, this creates more time and opportunity to watch.

Despite unprecedented choice, on average across the total population TV remains the most-watched screen, and most Australians watch some broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription channels) each week.

This edition of the Australian Video Viewing Report includes a spotlight on the new Total Grocery Shoppers demographic introduced at the start of the 2017 ratings year to reflect changing Australian household characteristics and better capture all grocery buyers in a home. Among other patterns, the data shows younger men make a significant contribution to household shopping.


  • 9 million Australians (83.7 per cent of the population in people metered markets) watch some broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription channels) on in-home TV sets each week.

    Reach is strong among all age groups. For example, across the day two thirds (65.6 per cent) of 18-24 year-olds – who are relatively light viewers compared to other age groups – watched broadcast TV weekly in Q1 2017.
    In Q1 2017, Australians watched an average of 79 hours and 30 minutes (79:30) of broadcast TV on in-home TV sets per person each month:

  • 1 per cent (70:52) was watched live-to-air.
  • 9 per cent (7:04) was played back within seven days.
  • 9 per cent (1:33) was time-shifted between eight and 28 days of the original broadcast.
  • As television sets become increasingly ‘smart’ and multi-functional, Australians are devoting a greater percentage of the time they use them for purposes other than watching live or playing back broadcast TV:
    • In Q1 2017, Australians spent 28 per cent of their time with their TV sets across the day doing something other than watching live or playing back broadcast TV within 28 days. In prime time, the proportion of this other TV screen use was 25 per cent.
  • Even with extensive platform, content and device choice, Australians watch 2:39 of live and playback TV on in-home TV sets each day – 33 fewer minutes per day than they did six years ago (Q1 2011).


  • Between 1 and 2 per cent of all broadcast TV content viewed each week takes place on connected devices.
  • Device portability and the times at which people are available to watch influence viewing patterns:
    • All connected devices have an evening viewing peak.
    • There is more online viewing during the daytime at weekends compared to weekdays.
    • On weekdays catch up (video on demand) viewing on tablets picks up in the afternoon, coinciding with the end of the school day.
    • There is also a slight bump for catch up viewing on weekdays around lunchtime.
    • Catch up activity peaks later in the evenings than live streaming.
    • While live viewing on desktops and laptops builds through the day (as it does for other connected devices), live streaming on tablets and smartphones progressively builds to a peak later in the evening.
    • There is a clear weekday morning peak on smartphones and tablets for both live and catch up viewing.
    • On weekend mornings catch up on smartphones and tablets is more pronounced from early until mid-morning. 


  • Active online Australians aged 2+ who watch any video on a desktop or laptop spend on average 13:04 per month per viewer doing so.

    Such viewing is highest among 18-24s (22:04) and lowest among people 65+ (6 hours).


  • Online Australians aged 18+ who watch any video on a smartphone or tablet claim to spend 2:46 and 2:34, respectively, per person doing so each month.

    18-24s say they watch the most video on smartphones (9:01 per month). 25-34s claim to watch the most on tablets (4:23).


The traditional weekly shop by a main grocery buyer is increasingly less typical. People now shop multiple times during the week, with those duties often shared between parents and other family members.

To reflect these changing behaviours and Australian household characteristics, OzTAM and Regional TAM introduced a new ‘Total Grocery Shoppers’ demographic at the start of the 2017 ratings year.

It joins the longstanding ‘Main Grocery Buyer’ demographic, and together these variables provide a more comprehensive picture of who shops and influences grocery purchasing decisions in Australian homes.

By broadening the definition of household shoppers, some patterns emerge:

  • Compared to Main Grocery Buyers, Alternate Shoppers skew young (40.7 per cent of them are aged 18-39) and male (70 per cent are men).
  • Compared to Main Grocery Buyers, Alternate Shoppers are more likely to be employed (67 per cent of them are) and live in dual income households (62 per cent do).
  • Alternate Shoppers are relatively light TV viewers compared to Main Grocery Buyers, reflecting the demographic’s young male skew.
  • As is the case among the general population, older Main Grocery Buyers and Alternate Shoppers watch more TV than their younger counterparts do. 

“This Q1 2017 Australian Video Viewing Report is the natural evolution of the Australian Multi Screen Report, providing a simplified framework whilst maintaining the core measurement metrics of past reports,” advised Regional TAM Chairman and General Manager, Prime Television, Tony Hogarth. “With the increased viewing options and platforms available the in-home television set is still the most popular choice, with broadcast television reaching 83.7 per cent of Australians weekly. Regional Australians in particular spend just over 87 hours watching broadcast television on average each month, which is almost eight hours more than the national average.”

“As we move through 2017 we’ve continued to see growth of Australians aged 18-24 engaging with video content online,” noted Craig Johnson, Regional Managing Director, Media, Nielsen. “This is certainly reflected in video viewing on mobile devices with this group now spending more than nine hours a month watching video via a smartphone – making them the biggest consumers of mobile video content. Content providers and advertisers need to be flexible with their approaches in order to reach consumers where they are, and on any screen size they choose for that moment.”

“The Q1 2017 Australian Video Viewing Report confirms Australians’ huge appetite for video,” added OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer “As people embrace device and platform choice, for some these new options actually create more time to stay up to date with their favourite TV programs or watch other video – for example, while commuting or taking a few minutes out during their lunch break. Although connected screens and endless content options contribute to the gradual decline in the time people spend watching live and time-shifted TV, particularly for younger viewers, nearly all Australians watch broadcast TV each week. On average across the total population TV remains the most-watched screen.”

ADDITIONAL findings: Q1 (January-March) 2017:

    • On average, Australian homes have 6.2 screens each (6.4 in Q1 2016).[i]


    • 59 per cent of homes have PVRs; 17 per cent have two or more (Q1 2016: 58 per cent; 17 per cent).


    • 38 per cent of homes have internet-capable TVs, whether connected or not (Q1 2016: 35 per cent).


    Within those homes, 69 per cent of Internet-capable TVs are connected, equating to 26 per cent across all TV households.


    • 49 per cent of homes have tablets (49 per cent in Q1 2016).


    • 81 per cent of households have one or more smartphones (81 per cent in Q1 2016).


    • 100 per cent of Australian television homes can access digital terrestrial television (DTT) channels.
    • 97 per cent can do so on every household TV set.
    • 96 per cent can receive high definition (HD) DTT broadcasts on all TV sets in the home.
    • Household Internet penetration is stable at 79 per cent.



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