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The digital tipping points are here

Deloitte media consumer survey

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30 July 2014: Using the internet has almost eclipsed watching TV as our preferred source of entertainment and reading the news online has overtaken reading it in print, according to more than 2300 Australians surveyed for Deloitte’s annual media consumer survey.

The key findings of this third annual survey into how Australians across four generations and five age groups prefer to consume media show that many of the long anticipated digital tipping points are either here, or will be here this year.

The survey results confirm that more than half (53%) of us are digital omnivores (up from 28% last year). This ‘dosing up on devices’ has largely been driven by increased tablet ownership with 63% of respondents now owning tablets as well as laptops (87%) and smartphones (81%).

We are habitual multi-taskers, 79% of us do so while watching TV (up 8% from last year). We also love our apps, especially the social network and weather ones.

We are demanding and want faster internet speeds and are willing to pay for it. Some of us, almost 10%, are prepared to pay a lot more – over $20 more a month.

When it comes to social though, that’s where the growth is. We check our social networks a lot – up 170% since last year – with some of us doing so more than 20 times a day!

And advertising on social media is increasingly influential – a third of us (33%) find it influential when it comes to buying decisions.

Digital has come of age

Deloitte Media Partner and co-author of the report Niki Alcorn said: “In this year’s survey, digital has come of age.
“Our findings on what we use, where we use it and how, all show that Australians are increasingly sophisticated and savvy when it comes to digital. Even the matures and boomers, who are our fastest growing group of tablet users at 42% and 21% compound annual growth respectively, are multitasking while watching TV. They mostly read emails or surf the web.

“It is the speed at which we are changing to digital that is most impressive,” said Alcorn. “Our shift to social is up 170%, and our shift in entertainment preferences to the internet from TV has grown 10% year on year for the past three to its current 63% preference versus 64% for TV.

“In Australia for instance there is a greater proportion of ‘digital omnivores’ than in the US (37%) or Japan (17%). And at 53% we are just behind Norway’s 57%, although we lag China (63%).

Speed and convenience

“As well as speed, we think the way we consume media is also about convenience,” said Alcorn. “For instance when it comes to TV and video content, we rent movie and TV shows using whichever method is most convenient at the time, with a preference for digital emerging. Over the next couple of years almost a quarter of survey respondents say they will subscribe to an online streaming service, with 21% intending to rent a digital copy.

“And convenience is also key when it comes to watching our favourite TV shows. While live TV on a home system is still the most common way to view (65%), almost a quarter of us will watch the show later on a DVR through the home TV system, or use catch-up services, including a free online video services and a show’s internet site (18%).


Deloitte Media leader Clare Harding said: “Given we spend more than a day a week watching TV and video content, (just under four hours daily), convenience also describes our appetites for bingeing. We binge on our favourite hit shows, and like to take control and want choice when it comes to TV viewing.

“Seventy two percent of our survey participants binge on three or more consecutive episodes of their favourite TV series, with 30% of Xers and Millennials bingeing once a month, and 41% of the younger age groups doing so once a week.

“Bingeing also shows that it’s all about ‘me’. I want to do what I want, when I want it, on my terms – not as a determined by the schedule.
“It also demonstrates that audiences are deeply engaged with ‘cult’ series - think Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Bingeing is almost the opposite of scheduled episodic content that brings audiences and advertising dollars back on a regular basis. Broadcasters need to consider how to build delivery platforms and revenue models that support both preferences, as well as producing or acquiring these highly attractive, binge-worthy programs.”


Harding said that when it comes to advertising it is becoming easier than ever to understand consumers’ interests and needs through insights drawn from the information trails we leave all over the Internet. “Our survey shows that 44% of participants would be willing to see more online ads if they provide access to free content that they find valuable.”

She said: “Ads delivered during or after an online video for instance appear to be becoming more influential, with 33% of surveyed respondents ranking these online ads in the top three online influences on their buying decisions.”

“However although online advertising is picking up and the influence of print advertising beginning to subside, more than half of our survey respondents still pay more attention to print advertising in newspapers and magazines than they currently do to online ads. And of this mass advertising, television is still the most influential in terms of buying behaviour, with a product’s website seen as more influential than either newspaper or magazine advertising.”

Industry insights

Stuart Johnston, the Technology, Media and Telecommunications lead partner at Deloitte said: “The insights around digital, convenience and influence in this year’s media consumer survey, and the preferences, attitudes and behaviours they call out are important for telecommunications, media and technology businesses. But not exclusively so.

“The challenges of anticipating and responding to digital consumers’ changing behaviours when it comes to connecting with customers across platforms and devices, can inform many industries.

“The insights reveal what Australians are prepared to pay for, and what they will not, how we like to be entertained, on what devices and technologies, and who and what we respond to. These attitudes will be useful across a broad sweep of industries – both private and public.

“In what has fast become the digital age, understanding its shifts, tipping points and influences – especially our peripatetic social networks – as well as how advertising fits into the picture, will help businesses design better and more robust ways to work with their clients and customers, as well as their employees.

More media consumer facts

•The digital tipping point has occurred for news – 35% of survey respondents either always prefer to their newspaper content in a digital format with a further 35% restricting their print newspaper reading to the weekend.
•Traditional news formats continue to decline with 32% of Australian survey respondents indicating that keeping up with breaking news was one of their top three reasons for using social media.
•Compared with other surveyed countries, Australia has the lowest newspaper subscription rates per household whether print or digital, 22%, compared with the top ranking Japan’s (53%), the UK’s (51%) and China’s (44%). An additional 8% have digital-only subscriptions.
•Within the surveyed population, newspaper subscriptions have declined by 5% over the past three years while digital-only subscriptions have grown by 26%, albeit from a very low base, with both major newspaper organisations in Australia now having pay-walls in place.
•92% of Australians surveyed responded that they would not pay for news online, as they believe there is enough information available for free.
•When it comes to magazines however the printed magazine is holding its own and remains the preferred way to read magazine content (49%). Nearly half magazine subscribers indicated that even if the price were favourable they would still prefer to read a printed magazine rather than a digital version
•Only 29% of respondents are satisfied with their internet speed.
•There is no evidence of an increase in ‘cord cutting’. Cancellations of paid services remain at just 4% over the last two years.
•Rather than reducing our pay TV subscriptions, the evidence suggests we are doubling up on them.
•Consumers are regularly watching nine pay TV channels on average. Of those respondents that have pay TV, 39% subscribe to a premium package on top of their basic package, to get the content they really want.
•While laptops are the most owned device, Smartphones are the most valued
•In Australia, and across the world, we primarily use our tablets to browse the Internet (57%), followed by social networking (29%) and watching TV shows (24%). China is the exception where tablets are primarily used to watch movies and TV shows.
•In the coming year the tablet market is likely to comprise an increasingly diverse range of devices across size, weight, processor speed, memory capacity and price. Size matters in Australia, with twice as many Australians owning 9+ inch models, than the more recently introduced 7-9 inch models.
•We’re still watching the box – with the average Australian household owning 2.3 TVs including a flat panel TV owned by 85% of surveyed Australian households.
•Australia’s active use of connected TVs lags China (83% of those surveyed), the US (58%) and Italy (51%). This could be due to the relatively limited content offered locally, however as streaming services become more readily available this is likely to change.
•eBooks, Magazines and News - Almost a third of Australian survey respondents (32%) buy e-books. Leading Millennials buy the most with 42% purchasing an e-book in the last year.
•In fact 66% of survey respondents who purchase e-books are reading more digital books than printed books. At the same time we are buying more digital books than we can read (51%) of survey respondents who buy e-books are doing so!

About the survey

•The Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2014 focuses on four generations and five distinct age groups from 14-75, to provide a snapshot of how consumers are interacting with media, entertainment, technologies and information and their preferences in the future.
•The report uses self -reported survey data. Undertaken by an independent research organisation between March and April 2014, the online survey was delivered in eight countries, with more than 2300 consumers surveyed in Australia. The other participating international markets were the US, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway and Spain.
•Identical questions were asked across all geographies and age groups, with some regionalisation to ensure local relevance. All data is weighted back to the most recent census data in each country.
•This is the third year of undertaking this research in Australia, and where possible, comparisons have been included to show how things have shifted over time. Where provided, growth rates reflect compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) over the three years since the first Australian survey was reported in 2012, the ‘State of Media Democracy Survey’.
•Deloitte’s Telecommunications, Media and Technology experts who work every day with leading Australian companies added their insights and analysis to the report.
•The demographics of the groups surveyed are Millennials (trailing and leading 14-22; 23-28); Xers (29-45); Boomers (46-64); Matures (65-75)

Download a copy of the report.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014




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