Posted: 15 Dec. 2016 15 min. read

Media Consumer Survey 2016

Media and digital trends have changed the ways generations consume media

In this rapidly evolving environment, media companies will need to consider how to adjust their strategies to cater to changing consumer needs, in order to continue to build competitive advantage.

This year, we have seen three key themes emerge around media consumption behaviours that will influence these decisions:

  • What we are calling the social hegemony – the rise and dominance of social media networks as entertainment destinations in their own right
  • The popularity of more immersive forms of content and media – think streaming, Virtual Reality and live video
  • The Millennial effect – the extent to which Millennials are shaping the future of media consumption

Access the full set of media consumption insights and further detail on the themes above in the full Media Consumer Survey here.

The social hegemony

This year we have seen what we are calling the social hegemony – the growing rise and dominance of social media networks as entertainment destinations in their own right.

Increasingly, social media is playing a central role in how we search for, discover, consume, and interact with media content.

We are seeing new content formats, streamed video and advertising seamlessly integrated in a social context, providing consumers with an immersive and frictionless media experience. This manifests in many ways including the broadcast of live sports on Twitter, integrated news feeds through Facebook instant articles, music streaming embedded into Twitter or the use of bots to deliver a ‘conversational’ two-way news experience. Social media is increasingly powerful in shaping our media consumption experiences.

Video is bringing a whole new side of life to social. Facebook is now the second largest online video platform after YouTube by viewing time, heavily driven by muted auto play streams. And Facebook’s investments in a stand-alone video hub, live streaming and revenue sharing models for professional content are set to increase viewing time on the platform, whilst growing the quantity and quality of video inventory. These moves present social platforms as complements and future alternatives to both SVOD streaming services and free-to-air. Likewise, this will continue to up the ante for rights as demand for content, audiences and eyeballs increases from all quarters.


Millennial behaviours

Figure 1 – Our presence on social networks

Immersed in content

This year, we are seeing the rising popularity of more immersive forms of content and media – in both old and new formats. Going to the movies saw an increase of 20% since last year, and although nascent, the arrival of Virtual Reality is upon us, with the majority of respondents (58%) believing it will enhance their viewing experience.

At the same time, we seem to be becoming more engaged with the content that we chose to consume, despite multi-tasking continuing to be a common behaviour – 88% of survey respondents are multitasking up again from 85% last year, but a big jump from just 60% in 2012. On average we are doing two other activities, on par with last year, but we are using fewer devices to multi-task while watching our home television system – only one this year compared with two in 2015. This is either because we are more immersed in what we are doing, or because we need fewer devices, with the smartphone doing so much for us.

More of us are paying for the video content that we want – 22% of respondents now pay for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, up from 12% since last year when SVOD services first hit the Australian market. And we pay more attention to content that we have paid for – 70% of respondents agree they tend to pay closer attention to content that they have paid to watch. We would rather pay for TV shows than be distracted by ads (43% of respondents agree) and in news, where we are willing to pay for news online, it is because we value the in-depth analysis. This desire for more detailed analysis has increased from 33% last year, replacing ‘trust and association with the brand’ as the most compelling reason to pay. In an environment where many now look to social platforms as the primary source of news, particularly for headlines and breaking stories, the perceived value of in-depth news analysis highlights where news providers can differentiate and complement ‘social-first’ publishing.

Our preferences in regard

Figure 2 – Our preferences in regard to the content that we consume

The Millennial effect

In 2016, we also focused on the Millennial effect – the extent to which this generation are shaping the future of media consumption. Over the past 5 years, Millennials (those aged 14-32 years old) have led the way in the adoption of smartphones, social media, SVOD and wearables. Many of these behaviours have subsequently been adopted by Xers, Boomers and even Matures. As Millennials continue to develop distinctive digital habits, understanding these unique media consumption behaviours provides a barometer for “what is to come”.

Millennials are the true digital natives, observable in distinct behaviours such as higher adoption of streaming as a means for accessing TV content (used more than live programming by Trailing Millennials, those aged 14-26 years old), increased willingness to pay for all forms of digital content and more pronounced digital habits such as bingeing and multi-tasking.

In a couple of years, Millennials will not only represent the largest proportion of the Australian population and the most active generation online, but they will also be a demographic group with a high purchasing power and thus a most attractive target for advertising and marketing.

Millennial behaviours

Figure 3 – Millennial behaviours


The media landscape continues to evolve quickly and it is often hard to keep up.

The new consumption behaviours that are predominantly being led by Millennials are expected to become the norm across generations.

Xers are already adopting social news consumption and non-streamed TV/movie consumption via SVOD, increasing the need for media players to shift how they distribute content and engage consumers to meet these needs.

Other areas such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are still nascent, and while the adoption rate of these technologies in the near term is not clear, the opportunity they represent should be compelling enough for organisations to explore their application.

To learn more about how Australian consumers are interacting with and consuming different media and entertainment access the full Media Consumer Survey here.

This blog was also written by Jeremy Smith and Lucy Buchanan

More about the author

Nicola Alcorn

Nicola Alcorn

Partner, Consulting

Niki Alcorn is the National Leader for Client Relationships & Experience, and Issues & Solutions. She is a Technology, Media and Telecommunications specialist and a Strategy Partner in the Consulting team. Niki has over 16 years of experience in corporate and business unit strategy, digital strategy and business transformation projects, working with many leading Australian organisations within TMT and more broadly.