Australians under 40 continue to switch off TV

05 March, 2018 by Don Groves

Australians overall are watching less television on their in-home TV sets than a year ago while teenagers and 18-to-24 year-olds increasingly are viewing on connected devices.

On average Aussies spend about one third of their TV viewing time each month consuming other content on their TVs – such as streaming services, Internet browsing, gaming and the networks’ catch-up platforms.


That’s according to the Australian Video Viewing Report for the fourth quarter of 2017, which combines data from the OzTAM and Regional TAM television ratings panels, Nielsen digital content ratings and OzTAM’s Video Player Measurement (VPM) data. 


The good news for the free-to-air networks is that broadcast TV watched on in-home TV sets still accounts for most video viewing.

However the report shows the percentage of all people viewing broadcast TV each week in the quarter fell to 82.6 per cent from 85.1 per cent a year earlier.

Kids’ viewing declined from 84.9 per cent to 81.5 per cent while teens were down from 75.3 per cent to 68.3 per cent, 18-24s dropped from 66.4 per cent to 63.1 per cent and 25-39s fell from 79.4 per cent to 76.1 per cent. There were marginal declines among the older age groups.

Year-on-year total TV screen use dropped by 3 hours and 1 minute to 109 hours and 12 minutes on average per month across the day. In primetime, viewing fell by 1 hour and 33 minutes to 54 hours and eight minutes.

Each day Australians spend an average 2 hours and 27 minutes watching live and playing back recorded TV content through their TV sets within 28 days. That’s just 43 fewer minutes per day compared to Q4 2010, even though viewing options have vastly expanded.

In the last quarter they watched 8 hours and 19 minutes of playback TV (a slight drop from 8 hours and 26 minutes a year earlier) each month through their TV sets within 28 days of live broadcast. In primetime such viewing was 4 hours and 33 minutes (4 hours and 37 minutes previously). 

They spend on average 34 hours and 15 minutes per month viewing content other than live TV or playback within 28 days across the day, of which 15 hours and 28 minutes is during primetime.

Together, other TV screen use and 8-28 day time-shifted viewing now account for 16 hours and 20 minutes per month (up from 14 hours and 37 minutes) per month per Australian in primetime and 35 hours and 57 minutes (down from 32 hours and 31 minutes) per month across the day.

Online viewing is increasingly popular. According to OzTAM‘s VPM data, Australians played an average 347 million minutes of broadcasters’ online content weekly on connected devices. This consisted of 258 million minutes of catch up (or on demand) viewing, and 89 million minutes of live- streamed material each week.

However up to half of that increase is due to the greater number of platforms that have implemented OzTAM’s VPM integration software.

Craig Johnson, Nielsen’s regional managing director, media, said: The past seven years have been quite a journey for audience measurement. The introduction of the iPad in 2010, internet-enabled TVs in 2011 and SVOD services being launched in 2014/2015 were a few milestones influencing viewing behaviour. In addition, there has been a rapid uptake of devices in the home: today the average Australian household has 6.6 devices.

“Despite all these extra devices and different ways to consume television, Australians still watch on average 2 hours and 27 minutes of broadcast TV per day through their TV sets.”