Australians continue to embrace OTT, connected devices

The latest Australian Multi-Screen Report – from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen, and covering Q2 (April-June) 2016 – continues to explore the impact of digital technologies, new channel and platform choices, and take-up of connected devices on audience behaviour.

Most households now own numerous screens, the majority Internet-capable and many portable, leading people to spread their screen time across multiple options.

With the number of hours in the day fixed however, evolving viewing patterns reflect the collective influence of platform and device choice, rather than one activity replacing another.

This is evident in the times of day at which Australians most often use their TV sets and other connected devices to watch catch up broadcast TV content – notably in the evenings, when people generally have the most time and opportunity to view.

Ongoing trends include:

  • Television remains the most-watched screen.

Even with extensive device, channel and platform choices, across the population as a whole the greatest share of viewing happens on TV sets: each week on average 88.1 per cent of Australians (20.67 million people) watch at least some broadcast TV on in-home sets (free-to-air and/or subscription channels).

Reach remains strong among all major age groups: for example, 72.3 per cent of 16-24 year-olds, traditionally among the lightest TV viewers, watch weekly.

  • The way Australians use their TV sets continues to change.

People can use their TV sets for many things in addition to watching live broadcast television, thanks to take-up of internet-capable TVs and/or devices attached to the TV. This functionality enables other TV screen use (using the TV set for any purpose other than watching live or playing back broadcast TV content within 28 days), and is an example of how screen activity is spreading, thereby affecting the time people spend with different devices and the activities they undertake on them, too.

Meanwhile ‘longer tail’ playback viewing continues to grow: 1.8 per cent of all broadcast TV watched on in-home sets in any four-week period is time-shifted between eight and 28 days later. In prime time that proportion is 1.7 per cent.

The chart below shows that ‘other TV screen use’ and 8-28 day playback viewing combined now account for 14 hours per month per Australian in prime time. The growth in such activity contributes to the gradual decline seen in live TV viewing and playback within seven days over the past several years.


  • Broadcast TV viewing levels vary by time of day, day of week and device.

Using OzTAM Video Player Measurement (VPM) Report data to create ‘shape of day’ graphs, we can compare the peaks and troughs when people view broadcast TV material on television sets and connected devices. Some patterns are evident:

  • In volume terms, watching live TV remains the dominant viewing activity.
  • Among all devices there is an evening ‘peak’, reflecting the times of day at which people generally have the greatest ability to view.
  • In the evenings, live viewing on TV sets begins to increase earlier and peaks earlier than playback, other TV screen use, and catch up viewing on other connected devices.
  • There is also a distinctive morning peak for live TV viewing on the TV set and catch up viewing on tablets and phones.
  • Live TV however has a less pronounced morning peak on weekends.
  • In contrast, there is a distinctive evening peak for catch up on desktops/laptops; playback viewing on the TV set; and other TV use, following a gradual, steady build from early morning.
  • On weekends this behaviour grows more quickly during the course of the day, which makes sense: on weekends people are more likely to be at home and have time to spend with non-portable screens.
  • The late evening peak for viewing on portable devices indicates people may be taking their devices to bed with them before switching off for the night. The morning peak for phones and tablets also suggests these devices are being used in bed.
  • On Sundays, other TV screen use is prominent during the day and the evening. It grows quickly across the morning and reaches levels close to its evening peak from about lunchtime.

For example, the following graph shows broadcast TV viewing across TVs and connected devices, along with other TV screen use, on Sunday. However, viewing on connected devices, along with other TV screen use described above, has impacted the time people spend viewing live and playback TV on TV sets – particularly in the evenings.

Overall, the majority of VPM catch up viewing occurs on tablets, followed by desktop/ laptops and then smartphones:

Percentage of VPM catch up viewing on connected devices

  • People increasingly take advantage of connected devices to view any kind of video content.

Looking across all screens, devices and any type of video across the population as a whole: 86.4 per cent of viewing (90:01)∧ is TV content watched on in-home sets within 28 days of original broadcast. Connected devices account for 13.6 per cent.

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Originally posted at Advanced Television on 7th October 2016