Deloitte releases Australia 2017 Media Consumer Survey

Monday, August 14th, 2017
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Australians’ changing media habits

  • We are watching more TV/video content, binging more, watching less live sports and news, and have changed the way we access online news because of ‘fake news’

According to Kimberly Chang, Deloitte’s newly appointed Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader, the demise of media is an oft-told story, but Deloitte’s 2017 Media Consumer Survey shows that there is much in how Australian consumers are behaving that is positive for the media industry.

“Not only is watching TV and video content on any device the preferred entertainment activity for 59% of Australians (alongside browsing the internet), we are also watching more videos or TV show content each week than ever before and we are binge watching for longer,” she said.

“Our report shows we are seeing a rise, not demise, of the viewing of TV-type content. However, we are now watching the content in very different ways, particularly through Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix or Stan. Australians are combining a number of sources to get more of the content they want, and when they want it,” said Chang.

Overall, Australians are watching an average of 17.5 hours of content per week in 2017, compared with 17.2 hours in 2015.(1) Of all age groups, those over 50 (Boomers and Matures) have increased their viewing the most by 1.3 and 1.7 additional hours per week respectively.

The majority (59%) of survey respondents are binging by watching three or more consecutive TV episodes in a single sitting. Nearly one third of respondents (29%) do so weekly, and the average length of a binge session has increased from five to six episodes in the past year (4.5 hours).

Deloitte Consulting Media Leader and co-author of the report, Niki Alcorn, said that the data shows that Australians have embraced technology that further enables their viewing experiences. Fifty percent of respondents now own IP-enabled TVs, and ownership of over-the-top boxes and portable streaming devices is at 26% and 17% respectively.

Subscriptions to SVOD (video on demand) have increased since last year (32% in 2017, up from 22% in 2016), surpassing Pay TV subscriptions for the first time. Further, 32% of SVOD subscribers access multiple services to get the right content: up from just 18% in 2016.

Changing consumer patterns in live sports and news

“The data shows that there are some early warning signals for commercial broadcasters around changing consumer patterns in watching live sports and news,” said Alcorn. “News and sport are still what we watch most often live at the time of broadcast, but both have declined markedly over the past two years.”

Fewer than half (45%) of 2017 survey respondents indicated they most often watch the news at the time of broadcast (compared to 63% in 2015) and fewer than a third (29%) of survey respondents most often watch sport at the time of broadcast compared to 38% in 2015.

News and fake news

Traditional forms of accessing news such as TV, print newspapers, radio and magazines are stable this year (used by 55% of respondents in 2017 and 54% in 2016), while 37% most frequently access digital sources for news (down just slightly from 40% last year), suggesting we have reached something of a new balancing act as consumers combine various sources in how they access news content.

There has been a decline in those who use social media to access news (14% in 2017 compared to 18% last year). “This modest decline puts social media sites back on par with online newspapers,” said Alcorn.

“Some of the change might be attributed to the growing awareness of so-called ‘fake news’: 58% of respondents agree that they have changed the way they access news material online given the prevalence of ‘fake news’,” she said.

The survey further reveals that 65% of respondents agree that they are concerned about the advent of fake news online, and 77% believe that they have been exposed. “Consumers are more cynical about what they read online. However, Australians do not necessarily feel that they need help to discern the truth as 80% of respondents believe they are capable of figuring out what is real and what is fake,” she said.

Australians increasingly dissatisfied with social media

While the daily usage of social media platforms remains high, there are signs that Australians may be becoming dissatisfied with social media. According to Chang, the data shows that 20% of surveyed social media users don’t enjoy their time on social media, and nearly half spend more time on it that they would like (46%).

“We appear to be getting social media fatigue,” she said. “Daily social media usage has dropped slightly from 61% to 59% over the last year, and 31% of respondents have temporarily or permanently deactivated one or more of their social media accounts in the past year,” she said. “Both trends are driven primarily by Leading Millennials.”

The survey shows that 29% of respondents spend more effort maintaining their social media image and connections than they do in-person relationships. This behaviour is most prevalent among Leading Millennials (43%). “Perhaps the effort required to curate a certain image on social media is contributing to their dissatisfaction,” said Chang.

Other highlights:

  • Advertising influencers: After word of mouth and its digital equivalent (online reviews from someone we know), TV advertisements have the greatest influence on advertising decisions (53% reporting high or medium influence) The influence of social media advertising has continued to grow this year (36%) to now be on par with news, magazines, radio and billboards.
  • Privacy: 70% of survey respondents are worried about becoming victims of identity theft as a result of sharing information online, compared to 74% last year.
  • Avoiding paying for video advertising: Most survey respondents will skip an ad playing before a video (77%), and half (50%) will abandon a short video completely if they cannot skip the pre-roll ad. One third (31%) use ad blocking technology to avoid ads altogether.
  • Paying for online news: 90% of Australians remain unwilling to pay for online news. Of those that will pay, trust in the brand and in-depth news analysis being the primary reasons they will pay.
  • Myth-busting the gamer stereotypes: Gamers are not just young males: females (35%) are gaming just as frequently as males (36%), or at least once a week. The most popular games for females are card or puzzle games on a smartphone, while for males are first person shooting games on gaming consoles.

1. Note: This question was not asked in 2016, so figures are only available for 2015 and 2017. Figures on TV viewing relate to watching on any single device.