Australians spent more time watching television on traditional screens than the previous year, despite the increasing take-up of internet connected devices. That is the optimistic message of the Australian Multi-screen Report from the audience measurement organisation OzTAM, as reported by other media sources. Yet informitv analysis of its quarterly data suggests that viewing on television has declined for many age groups and has fallen generally over two years, significantly among teens and young adults. However, it has remained relatively stable among younger children, who watch more television than a decade ago.
In the third quarter of 2014, Australians watched slightly less than 97 hours a month of broadcast television, including free-to-air and subscription channels, on television sets in the home, either at the time of transmission or within seven days. That is an increase of one hour and seven minutes a month, year on year.
Further inspection shows that Australians watched an average of 99 hours and 54 minutes a month in the third quarter of 2012. That represents an overall reduction of three hours a month over two years. Only those aged over 65 watched more television.
Australians additionally spent an average of 11 hours and 13 minutes a month watching any video on a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. That rises to 17 hours 48 minutes among those aged 18-24.
The report concludes that while audiences increasingly watch video content on mobile screens, such viewing is not the primary activity for which people use their internet-connected mobile devices.
Doug Peiffer, the chief executive of OzTAM, said: “For all the changes and new options viewers have, television is still the centrepiece. Live TV viewing is level year-on-year, playback is up by nearly an hour, and people are spending more time with their television sets overall, because TVs are more versatile than ever.”
However, as informitv has previously observed, there is a significant shift among teens and younger adults, who tend to watch more online video.
Teenagers watched an average of 47 hours and 20 minutes of television a month on television. In 2004 they watched 68 hours and 26 minutes a month, according to OzTAM ratings.
Those aged 18-24 watched 44 hours and 23 minutes a month, compared to 63 hours and 52 minutes a month in 2004, when online viewing was not an option.
Interestingly, younger children are watching only slightly less television than two years previously, at 69 hours and 11 minutes a month, compared to 63 hours 52 minutes in 2004.
The Australian Multi-screen Report Quarter 4 2013 is published by OzTAM, Regional TAM and Nielsen.