How Australians’ Viewing Habits have Changed over the Past Five Years

How Australians’ Viewing Habits have Changed over the Past Five Years


Australians are voracious consumers of broadcast TV and other video, and they have a growing array of options by which to access content. However, while viewing patterns continue to change as consumers embrace connected devices and the whenever-wherever options they create – most viewing still goes to broadcast TV channel content watched in the home.

Now in its fifth year, The Q4 (October-December) 2016 Australian Multi-Screen Report – from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen – continues to document how growing content, platform and screen choices have caused a gradual shift in the way consumers spread their viewing across devices.

It was early days for many of these alternatives when the report was first published five years ago and while there is much discussion about television’s place in today’s screen mix, several trends are clear:

More screens. Australian homes now have an average of 6.4 screens each, the majority of which are Internet-capable.

Viewing is spread across devices. More devices create more opportunities to view – not least because any connected device can also be used like a PVR to watch catch up TV or live-stream video.

A little less TV. Even though people are spreading their viewing across multiple devices, TV remains by far the most-watched screen. Viewing of broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription channels) watched live or played back within 28 days on in-home TV sets now accounts for 86% of video viewing across all devices. On average Australians watch 2 hours and 39 minutes (2:39) of broadcast TV in the home each day – down from 3 hours and 10 minutes (3:10) five years ago.

Rise of the multi-tasking TV set. Because television sets can now be used for many purposes in addition to watching TV, ‘other TV screen use’* is rising, particularly in the evenings: in Q4 2016 other TV screen use was just under 31 hours per Australian per month across the day. This means 28% of the time people now spend with their TV sets goes to something other than watching live TV – and partially explains why Australians on average now watch 31 fewer minutes of live and playback TV per day than they did in Q4 2010.

‘Longer tail’ viewing is rising. Approximately 2.5-3% of all broadcast TV viewing is either time-shifted or takes place on connected devices (OzTAM VPM data).** Australians spend on average 1 hour and 35 minutes (1:35) per month watching time-shifted TV between 8 and 28 days after broadcast; 48 minutes of that is in prime time.

OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer said: “This fifth anniversary Multi-Screen Report shows the viewing landscape continues to evolve. Many of the content, device and platform options that today allow viewers to access video anytime, anywhere were in their infancy when the report was first published. Amid unprecedented choice, the TV set remains the primary screen for most: Australians still spend a remarkable 2 hours and 39 minutes each on average per day watching live or playing back broadcast TV channel content on in-home sets – just half an hour less than they did six years ago.”

Craig Johnson, Managing Director, Media, Asia Pacific, Nielsen, said: Since the report’s inception over five years ago, many things have changed but overall, Australians are consuming more media content that ever. However, digging beneath the bonnet reveals that fragmentation of channels and devices is growing the “long tail”, meaning Australian audiences are increasingly taking control of their TV viewing, watching video content wherever and whenever that want and on the device or screen of their choice.

*Non-broadcast activities comprising ‘other TV screen use’ include gaming; viewing TV network catch up services; watching DVDs; playing back recorded broadcast material beyond 28 days; internet browsing; streaming music; watching video on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo; and watching over-the-top internet-delivered video services.

**This viewing is on top of OzTAM and Regional TAM Consolidated 7 viewing data.

Download the full report here


The Australian Multi-Screen Report, released quarterly, is the first and only national research into trends in video viewing in Australian homes across television, computers and mobile devices. It combines data from the three best available research sources: the OzTAM and Regional TAM television ratings panels; Nielsen Online Ratings and Nielsen’s Australian Connected Consumers report; and OzTAM’s Video Player Measurement (VPM) Report.