Australians are watching more TV/video content – and when they do they like to binge – but less live sports.
They have also changed the way they access online news because of so-called fake news, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Media Consumer Survey.
Australians are becoming more critical of digital news, a reaction to so-called fake news which became prominent during last year’s US presidential elections, and are not enjoying their time on social media as much as they used to. This, says Deloitte, which surveyed more than 2000 to establish the changing habits of consumers in Australia, could be down to social media fatigue.
But the big news is that TV content consumption is booming. We’re accessing it from different platforms, combining more than one streaming service with internet access to get all the top programs.
Subscriptions to SVOD (streaming video on demand) have increased since last year (32% in 2017, up from 22% in 2016), passing Pay TV subscriptions for the first time.
And 32% of SVOD subscribers access multiple services to get the right content, up from 18% in 2016. Some 28% of respondents use Netflix, making it the most subscribed service, followed by Foxtel Play (9%), Stan (7%) and Amazon Prime (2%).
“Our report shows we are seeing a rise, not demise, of the viewing of TV-type content,” says Kimberly Chang, Deloitte’s newly appointed Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader.
“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.
“However, we are now watching the content in very different ways, particularly through Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix or Stan.”
Overall, Australians are watching an average of 17.5 hours of content per week in 2017, compared with 17.2 hours in 2015.
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 (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).
The data shows that Australians have embraced technology that further enables their viewing experiences. Half now own IP-enabled TVs, and ownership of over-the-top boxes and portable streaming devices is at 26% and 17% respectively.
The data shows some warning signals for commercial broadcasters around changing consumer patterns in watching live sports and news.
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%) most often watch sport at the time of broadcast compared to 38% in 2015.
Traditional forms of accessing news such as TV, print newspapers, radio and magazines are stable this year. They are used by 55% of respondents in 2017 compared to 54% in 2016.
More than one third (37%) most frequently access digital sources for news, down 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, down to 14% in 2017 compared to 18% last year.
“This modest decline puts social media sites back on par with online newspapers,” says Niki Alcorn, Deloitte Consulting Media Leader and co-author of the report.
Some of the change might be attributed to the growing awareness of so-called fake news. 58% agree that they have changed the way they access news material online given the prevalence of fake news.
The survey found 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,” she says.
“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.”
While the daily usage of social media platforms remains high, there are signs that Australians may be becoming dissatisfied.
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,” says Chang.
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. 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,” says Chang.