We Still Watch 100 Hours Of TV A Month

We Still Watch 100 Hours Of TV A Month
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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]

Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


  • I used to watch a fair amount of TV – sci-fi, procedural police drama, dumb comedies etc. Then in 2008 I didn’t have TV in my home (I had a television set, just no aerial) and I found I no longer cared for it.

    I’d still download good shows but I became a lot more picky; I’d still spend time in front of a screen but it was playing games or reading webcomics. This habit hasn’t changed much now that I have a working TV connection – I actually use ABC’s iView more than FTA TV.

  • We watch 1 hour of broadcast TV a week, at most. Everything else is downloaded or streamed. Family of 4 with 2 kids under 10, neither of whom has any idea that TV shows are usually interrupted by adverts. We have an HTPC with XBMC under the TV that has 1700 movies and 11,500+ TV Episodes, with a PseudoTV plugin that lets me create hundreds of custom channels that my kids can easily navigate (Anime Channel, Star Trek Channel, New Movie Channel, Tom & Jerry Channel, etc, etc etc.),.

    Works a treat, to hell with broadcast TV and their constant ads (now constant DURING programmes), unreliable scheduling, late or non-broadcast of shows etc. etc. etc.

  • I hardly watch any live TV anymore, its all my fave shows are recorded onto my PVR and then watched when I have the time. Time shifting is great to skip over ads 😀 and IceTV is great to set things to record from my phone/computer

  • My next TV upgrade will definitely be a Smart TV of some kind. I don’t watch regular TV I only use my HDTV for blu-ray’s and gaming. Most of the content I watch these days is on youtube or online shows.

  • I have stopped watching TV. And that means for real, I’m not streaming shows as a substitute. I figured a few months back that no one at home was watching and I cancelled Foxtel. Nobody noticed. We live close to a power line and can’t watch free to air.

    Our entertainment comes from put computers (just browsing or gaming) and our home consoles. At best I’ll watch the odd iView show, and thats a rare ocurrence.

    My nine years old son does watch lots of youtube, mostly fan made stuff of things he likes. No professionally produced stuff.

  • I watch live TV maybe twice a week. I usually watch TV at home when i’m eating meals at home and that’s almost always recorded stuff off the PVR. What’s changed in recent years is how I watch TV – very little of it is at home and a lot more of it is on my mobile or tablet when i’m commuting to/from work. I just wish all the recordings on my fetch tv box could be streamed to my phone, because I record some great shows off the subscription channels but have to end up deleting most of them because I just don’t have the time. Hopefully the high court will give TV watchers some of their rights back.

  • I watch about half an hour a month, which is pretty much all me looking on from the kitchen making food while other members of my family are actually watching that drivel. Over the years I just got sick of the crap that was on, and only watched the news. Even that got too bad after a while, celebrity gossip is not news.
    These days I still watch TV shows, but they’re downloaded or watched online. It feels good to be able to watch whatever I want, whenever I want. Not just when the TV stations put it on.

  • I don’t watch prime time TV live. I start work at 5am, so my DVR gets a workout, and I watch it before and after work. Not having to sit through ads is great.

  • WTF? Where are these people?

    I have a TV. It came with the flat and is gathering dust in the closet taking up space.

    We have finite life. We can get back money, health, friends, anything. But we can NEVER get back wasted time.

    We’re here in this prosperous country, incredibly lucky. Billions of people would kill to be in our shoes. In return, we have a responsibility to create SOMETHING. We have resources to create amazing things unprecedented in human history.

    Why the fuck would anyone waste this precious resource on TV?

  • P.S. It’s worth pointing out that TV LITERALLY hypnotizes you.

    Not figuratively. Not similar to. One of the most popular schools of clinical hypnotherapy starts off by overwhelming the conscious mind with a constant bombardment of stimuli. After only a few minutes of this, the mind enters a hypnotic trance.

    This is literally exactly what TV does.

    You enter into a trance without realizing it, and then one image after another is flashed in front of your eyes..so fast that you cannot consciously process it, and it gets embedded straight into your vast subconscious mind.

    Watching TV is letting some of the worst people in the world shit down your brain. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

    The Internet can absolutely by hypnotizing too, but the difference is A) By nature, the stimulus stops and starts, it is not continuous, your brain can get a break once in awhile; B) There are vastly more things to consume, not made 100% by giant rotten global media corporations and C) it can also be used as a means to create, express, and communicate. That being said, use caution, because the internet can easily induce you into a trance as well.

    Ask yourself: Do I really want this corporation having unfettered write access to the deepest depths of my subconscious mind?

    TV kills your fucking mind. It kills your soul. Seriously, it’s bad stuff, lay off it.

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