Viewers stick with live TV despite drop in hours

11 June, 2015 by Don Groves

Despite all the hype about consuming content on different devices, the vast majority of Australians still watch broadcast TV live on their home TV sets.

However overall viewing levels of both free-to-air and subscription TV have continued a 5-year slide.


Those trends are confirmed in the Australian Multi-Screen Report from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen for the first quarter of 2015.

The report shows 88.4% of all viewing takes place on the home TV set. Australians watched an average of 89 hours and 28 minutes (89:28) of broadcast TV in the quarter, down from 93:16 in Q1 2014 and 92:39 in 2013.

Despite the rise in time shifting, 91.6% of all broadcast TV viewed on TV sets is still watched live. In a typical month (February 22-March 21), playback viewing, which occurred within 8-28 days of the original broadcast, accounted for just 1.66% of all TV viewing across the day, up from 1.06% a year ago.

Internet-capable TVs and tablets are in 30% and 47% of homes, respectively, while personal video recorder (PVR) penetration has levelled off at 56%.

Yet only 11.6% of all video viewing – both broadcast and non-broadcast content – happens on screens other than the TV.

OzTAM CEO Doug Pfeiffer said: “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.”

Each month 13.3 million people watch some video on the internet (including broadcast TV and non-broadcast content), an average of 6:57 per month (down 51 minutes from 7:48 a year ago).

Nielsen’s annual Australian Connected Consumers report shows 75% of online Australians aged 16 and over say they ever multi-screen while watching TV, compared with 74% a year ago.  Slightly more women than men say they have multi-screened (76% compared to 73%).

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

Some 31% of online Australians aged 16+ say they triple-screen, up from 26% the previous year.