We Still Watch 100 Hours Of TV A Month

While we have more screens in our homes than ever before, old-fashioned TV still dominates Australian viewing patterns. However, those habits are slowly changing.

Picture by Jon Ross

Earlier this week, TV ratings provider OzTAM released the Australian Multi-Screen Report, which examines viewing patterns amongst Australian households. Given that OzTAM’s bread-and-butter business is telling TV networks who is watching their shows, it’s not altogether surprising that the report finds that television is still the dominant medium, accounting for 96 per cent of all video viewing (whether live TV, recorded TV or online streams).

Lifehacker readers tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new approaches, so I suspect that many of the figures OzTAM provides will sound somewhat on the low side. The insights are interesting nonetheless.

First and foremost, while ratings for individual shows have dropped as we get more choices, we still watch a lot of live television: 97 hours and 15 minutes each month. That figure is actually up by more than an hour on a year ago. My inner cynic can’t help but wonder if most of that is made up of TV networks running their shows way over schedule. Another explanation might be near-universal adoption of digital TV: 96 per cent of households have digital TV, and 74 per cent have access to digital on every TV in their home.

Just under half (47 per cent) of households have some form of personal video recorder (PVR), and we typically watch 6 hours and 33 minutes of recorded shows a month. Experience suggests that drama and comedy comprise a large portion of this, while the highest rating shows tend to be those which need to be seen on the night for maximum impact (news, sport and reality TV). But collectively, we’re still cracking 100 hours on the main screen each month.

What about other devices? By OzTAM’s calculations, 15 per cent of households have at least one tablet. However, their main use isn’t for watching video, which apparently only 5 per cent of us do. As David Knox at TV Tonight points out, one thing that the study didn’t examine was multi-tasking. If I’m in front of the television, chances are I’ll be using a tablet or phone to tweet or look up details for what’s happening on screen.

Viewing of online video is growing, but also still fairly small. In a typical month, we apparently watch 3 hours and 15 minutes of online video via our computers. On our phones, the figure is a bit lower: 1 hour and 20 minutes.

How have your viewing habits changed in recent years? Tell us in the comments.

OzTAM [PDF via TV Tonight]

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