Australian Video Viewing Report released

Monday, March 5th, 2018
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More Screens, Platforms And Content Choice Progressively Broaden Viewing Patterns: Q4 2017 Australian Video Viewing Report

The latest Australian Video Viewing Report – from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen, and spanning the year through Q4 2017 – builds on the continuing story of how Australians are embracing opportunities to watch video on an ever-increasing array of options.

Extensive content choice and more devices in homes encourage the cross-screen ‘spreading’ this report and its predecessor, the Australian Multi-Screen Report, have documented for some years. The combination of these factors is essential to understanding how viewing patterns are changing.

Across the population and all age groups however, most Australians continue to watch broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription channels) on in-home TV sets.

Broadcast TV Viewing On TV Sets(1)

  • 19.64 million Australians (82.6 per cent of the population in people metered markets) watched broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription channels) on in-home TV sets each week in Q4 2017.

    Australians in all age groups continue to watch TV. For example, across the day 63.1 per cent of 18-24 year-olds – who are relatively light viewers compared to other age groups – watched broadcast TV weekly in the latest quarter.

  • Australians watched an average of 74 hours and 58 minutes (74:58) of broadcast TV on in-home TV sets each month* in Q4 2017:
    • 89 per cent (66:38) was watched live-to-air.
    • 8.8 per cent (6:37) was played back within seven days.
    • 2.3 per cent (1:42) was time-shifted between eight and 28 days of the original broadcast.

      * Note: Fractional minutes have been rounded, so percentages don’t add up perfectly to 100. TV viewing levels have always been seasonal, rising in the cooler months with shorter daylight hours (Qs 2 & 3) and dipping as summer weather and longer daylight hours keep Australians outside (Qs 4 & 1).

  • As television sets become increasingly ‘smart’ and multi-functional, they can be used for many purposes in addition to watching live or playing back broadcast TV (‘other TV screen use’).

    In Q4 2017 other TV screen use accounted for 31 per cent of Australians’ time with their sets (34:15 per month). In prime time the proportion was 29 per cent (15:28).

Broadcast TV Viewing On Connected Devices(2)

  • Australians played, on average, 347 million minutes of broadcasters’ online content on connected devices weekly in Q4 2017:
    • 258 million minutes, on average, was catch up (or on demand) viewing.
    • 89 million minutes, on average, was live viewing.
  • The amount of broadcasters’ online TV content viewed continues to grow: overall, between 1 and 2 per cent of all broadcast TV content viewed each week is internet-delivered.

Online Video Viewing On Computers, Smartphones And Tablets(3)

  • Australians aged 18+ now spend on average 21:36 per month watching online video on a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

    People aged 18-24 watch the most video in aggregate on connected devices (31:05 per month) while people aged 65+ watch the least (6:38).

  • 25-34 year-olds are the heaviest viewers on smartphones (12:31 per month), while 18- 24s watch the most on desktops/laptops (11:59). Across the adult population, Australians on average spend 6:11 per month watching streamed video on tablets.


For the past seven years, the Australian Video Viewing Report and its predecessor, the Australian Multi-Screen Report, have documented the collective influence of new technologies, device take-up, and channel and platform choices on audience behaviour.

Viewing patterns are certainly changing as people embrace new content options and ways of watching video; the ‘spreading’ that arises from cross-platform and multi-screen activity has impacted the amount of time people spend watching ‘traditional’ TV, and is particularly apparent in the evenings and in live viewing.

Broadcast TV watched on in-home TV sets still accounts for most video viewing, however. On a daily basis, Australians spend an average 2:27 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 expanded in ways hardly imaginable seven years ago.

Craig Johnson, Regional Managing Director, Media, Nielsen, 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.”

OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer said: “As we delve into changing viewing behaviour, we’re seeing the impact of more screens per person in the average Australian household. Not only does this increase options to view both inside and outside the home, but for some consumers the ability to watch video ‘on the go’ actually creates more time to view. A significant proportion of these consumers are young adults, who spend more time out and about and have therefore always been relatively light TV viewers compared to the overall population. As they settle down, start families and are at home more often, their TV viewing levels tend to rise – whether co-viewing with their children, a partner or solo.”

Regional TAM Chairman Dave Walker said: “With the increased viewing options and platforms available to Australians, it’s pleasing to see that the in-home television set still accounts for the majority of video viewing. With the growing incidence of smart televisions we have seen an increase in other screen use but it’s important to note that 82.6 per cent of Australians continue to tune into TV each week. Regional Australians in particular spent almost 84 hours watching broadcast television on average each month, which is almost 9 hours more than the national average.”

Additional Findings: Q4 (October-December) 2017(4):

  • On average, Australian homes have 6.6 screens each (6.4 in Q4 2016).
  • 58% of homes have PVRs; 17% have two or more (59%; 18% in Q4 2016).
  • 43% of homes have internet-capable TVs, whether connected or not (Q4 2016: 37%).

    Within those homes, 72% of internet-capable TVs are connected, equating to 31% across all TV households.

  • 50% of homes have tablets (level with Q4 2016).
  • 84% of households have one or more smartphones (81% in Q4 2016).
  • 98% of Australian television homes can access digital terrestrial television (DTT) channels on every household TV set.

    97% can receive high definition (HD) DTT broadcasts on all TV sets in the home.

  • Household internet penetration is stable at 80%.

1. Time spent watching broadcast TV in the home is from combined OzTAM Metro and Regional TAM databases with overlap homes de-duplicated. Average time spent viewing 2am-2am (0200-2600) per person, whether or not they watch TV, within metered markets. Includes free-to-air and subscription television channels. Reach is average 1-minute weekly cumulative. Playback is ‘when watched’. Fractional minutes have been rounded.
2. OzTAM Video Player Measurement (VPM). Includes all participating broadcasters’ online content played to connected devices.
3. Time spent watching any online video on computer, tablet and smartphone is from Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR) for people 18+ among the total Australian population. Online video refers to streaming video and excludes downloaded content as well as adult and advertising content.
4. Estimates for internet connection, smartphone in home, tablet household penetration and internet capable TV in home are from OzTAM Metro and Regional TAM quarterly Establishment Surveys (ES). Based on mobile and landline CATI ES. Internet connection and tablet penetration based on rolling four-quarter averages to stabilise month-to-month trends. Estimate for internet-capable TV in home refers to the capability to be internet connected, whether connected or not. Smartphone estimates are percentage of homes with at least one smartphone.