UK: TV Viewing and Decision-Making

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UK: TV Viewing and Decision-Making

Globally, several trends are changing behavior and decision-making patterns among TV views, including the diversification of available TV programs, both on broadcast and online platforms, the explains of Over-the-Top (OTT) players and online streaming services, and the increased variety of devices used to consume digital TV content online. Regional trends in TV viewership and how companies are responding to them in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia are also discussed below.

Global TV Viewing Trends

    Trend #1: Diversification of Available TV Programs

    • In response to the increasing segmentation of TV show audiences, streaming services have made efforts to adapt the content they market and offer to different communities. According to analysis from Deloitte: "Netflix is well-known for its profiling — it has identified 2,000 separate ‘taste communities’ across the 190 markets it operates in;9 UK broadcasters’ accumulation of first-party data should also enable them to deliver ever more relevant targeting. This first-party data may help a service like Channel 4’s foreign drama VOD service, Walter Presents, to deliver more personalized recommendations."
    • This trend exists because, while TV ratings still hold value, the monthly subscription model that drives revenue for digital TV platforms means that platforms have to offer "content that a viewer cannot give up" in favor of another more attractive or more affordable streaming service, and the type of content that can deliver that level of loyalty can vary between groups and often include content like drama and sports.
    • OTT players, which are "over-the-top" devices that deliver content via the Internet to a TV set, have gained in popularity due to their ability to deliver a wide variety of US-produced content that would otherwise be hard to access via traditional TV. However, as they have become entrenched in people's viewing habits, the companies offering them have begun to invest in locally produced, original content to appeal to regional audiences.
    • The content that these services have success within different markets can vary greatly, and as an example, the Deloitte analysis discusses Netflix's show Casa de Papel. The program is the platform's more popular non-English series but has had little success outside Spanish-speaking markets, and it is evidence of the company's "micro-profiling" at work in the content it develops and produces to appeal to regional demographics.
    • Similarly, Wal-Mart is potentially preparing to develop its own streaming service specifically aimed at audiences in Middle America, with whom the content on the industry leaders Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu might not find traction.
    • Because of the ever-increasing variety of TV platforms and programs available to watch, the way that the success of a show is measured has had to change over time. Instead of focusing on having the largest audience tune during a weekly scheduled time slot, streaming services have shifted the conversation to how to develop content that engenders the most viewer loyalty.
    • This has been observed with companies like Netflix, which recently acquired Pinewood Studios, in preparation to develop UK-produced content to appeal to its growing audience there.
    • In this instance, Netflix is responding to the global trend of diversification of content by adapting to the consumers' content preferences, in stark contrast to how TV production worked in the past. Research from the UK Office of Communications indicates that "UK audiences want original, UK-produced programs, specific to UK audiences. Showing ‘new programs made in the UK’ remains important to 78% of regular PSB [public service broadcast] viewers, and the public service broadcasters continue to lead in this area."
    • According to an industry thought leader: "'The profusion of content presents a real challenge for the market: how to capture and then retain an increasingly sought-after audience and how to adapt to the new consumption habits of TV viewers,' says Glance VP Frédéric Vaulpré. 'Making content available during an extended time period via live broadcasts, catch-up and, more recently, preview appears to be essential for television going forward into the future.'"
    • In contrast to the "binge model" approach that Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have pursued, Disney Plus is releasing weekly episodes for its original content, "presumably in an attempt to synchronize and maximize the force of these cultural waves."

    Trend #2: Expansion and Localization of OTT Players and Online Streaming

    • At 86%, the majority of people worldwide watch live television, but market research indicates that other TV platforms, such as OTT players and streaming services, are rapidly growing in popularity.
    • This has been identified as a trend because a method for TV viewership that is quickly growing is streaming online content via a TV set, and the countries with the highest population percentages mainly watching TV this way include Turkey (44%), Russia (36%) and China (33%), as well as "South Korea (25%), India (23%), Sweden (19%) and Great Britain (17%)."
    • In regional markets, companies have been increasingly releasing and expanding "local online services" for TV to compete with dominant companies in the industry like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
    • Examples of these companies and services include "DAZN across Europe, YouTube TV and Hulu in the US, and Kayo Sports in Australia."
    • Additionally, "services have begun to tier packages to suit consumers in various segments. On top of a basic package at $9* (around £7) per month, Netflix offers multi-screen viewing and HD resolution for $4 more, and Ultra-HD resolution and further watching options for $7 more."
    • While previously major platforms like Netflix held rights to stream content from a variety of sources, nowadays companies in the streaming space are focusing on developing unique offerings for their platforms: "Major players are also increasing their content and rights portfolios. From Amazon Prime’s acquisition of live tennis rights to Netflix’s $15B investment in original programming, OTTs are broadening their appeal to a wide demographic of audiences."
    • As online platforms expand the distribution rights they have access to and/or supplement traditional TV with online access, types of TV content that were only recently restricted to live TV are rapidly changing in the way global viewers consume them. Sports viewers are a perfect example of this, as "sports fans are highly engaged with digital media. They stream videos on their smartphones and other connected devices more than watching TV, despite the majority of live media rights held by linear broadcasters."
    • Another growth driver for OTT platforms has been the trend of "box set 'binging,'" which was previously restricted to shows available on services like Netflix and Hulu. But now that traditional platforms are developing and releasing on-demand viewing o scheduled content, viewers can watch what they want when they want, giving them the same access and control as streaming services without limiting their access to traditional TV content that platforms like Netflix might no longer have the rights to.
    • To combat this competition, companies like Netflix, Apple, and Disney are focusing on developing original content. In 2019, Netflix spent a reported $15 billion on creating original content, and Amazon Prime spent about half that, at $7 billion.
    • Similarly, "Apple has focused its OTT launch around exclusive programming, while Disney has pulled its properties from external services to bolster its own launch, while spending millions of dollars to add new, original programming such as 'The Mandalorian.'"
    • Overall, among those who pay a subscription for a streaming service, these viewers spend more watch time with streaming platforms than any other kind, a behavioral trend that stretches across multiple generations.
    • According to CNBC, market experts expect "this trend to continue as sports federations, TV networks, and new digital publishers launch direct-to-consumer services ‘over the top’. Broadcasters will lose the dominant position of aggregators to TV services and will not be able to control access for consumers as was common in the pay-TV era."

    Trend #3: Variety of Devices Used to Consume TV Content

    • Another global trend in TV viewership is that the devices used to consume TV content are becoming more diverse: "Over one quarter (27%) watched via a computer while 16% streamed content from the internet to their TV set. The use of a DVR or other recording device was cited by 16% while watching on a mobile device was being done by 11%."
    • In "China (52%), Russia (43%) and Turkey (42%)" as well as "India (40%), Sweden (35%), South Korea (31%) and Great Britain (29%)," using a computer or laptop to watch TV is a common practice in the general population, which is increased from previous years when standard TV sets were the primary way to watch TV programs globally.
    • Globally, using alternatives to live TV is significantly more popular among those under 45, with 35% using a laptop/computer, 20% streaming to TV sets via the Internet, and 15% using a mobile device. In comparison, among 50-year-old to 64-year-old viewers, those figures are 17%, 11%, and 5%, respectively.
    • According to research from CNBC, "16% of pay-TV customers report watching video most often on digital devices."
    • Among these "digital-only" viewers, 45% watch TV content on smartphones, 41% on smart TV using a streaming device from Amazon (Fire Stick) or Apple (Apple TV), 33% use a normal TV set, 26% use a laptop/desktop, 19& use a tablet, and 15% use a game console.
    • To correct its overpriced rates for consumers developing countries, Netflix created a $4 monthly subscription that only allows subscribers to watch its content on mobile device apps.
    • This move by Netflix has contributed to an already accelerating trend: "in much of the developing world, video, including TV, is primarily watched on mobile devices since fewer people own actual television sets."
    • As a result, watching TV via streaming services have become a largely solitary pastime in these regions, especially because TV sets are a luxury that is not affordable for many.
    • These TV viewing habits and behavioral patterns "affect both the way TV is produced and the way it is monetized. Shows that are geared to a single individual watching can be much more targeted in scope and ads can be aimed at individuals, the way they are on digital. In addition, the smaller screen size means that production budgets can be slimmed down some, since there’s less of a need to focus on details."
    • In India, several companies have embraced this trend, leading to their successful adoption among consumers in the country: "Hotstar, which is owned by Star India (which is in turn wholly owned by Disney) has over 75 million subscribers. They are trailed by Voot, a free platform with 22 million subscribers, Amazon, with 11 million and Netflix with 5 million. And while Hotstar may only have 75 million subscribers, it is estimated that over 300 million people watched the Indian Premier League cricket tournament on mobile devices via Hotstar, with 18.9 million tuning in live for the championship game this year, a global record for live OTT viewership."

Overview of How TV Viewers Choose Programs to Watch

    United Kingdom: TV Viewership and Trends

    • Among UK public service broadcast PSB viewers, 74% of the audience "claim to be either very (19%) or fairly (55%) satisfied with PSB broadcasting. Although this remains high, there are indications of a slight decline; in 2014, 80% had claimed to be either very or fairly satisfied.
    • PSB viewers in the UK report higher satisfaction levels than viewers who have Freeview-only TV, which the UK Office of Communications links to a lack of selection and variety that PBS programs offer.
    • In the UK, TV viewers surveyed have responded "that they value public service broadcasting most highly for the provision of news. Providing ‘news programs which are trustworthy’ (73% of viewers gave it a 7-10 rating) and ‘helping me understand what is going on in the world’ (69%) continue to the most important PSB purposes." Currently, 4 out of 10 of the most commonly used new sources in the UK are PSB TV programs.
    • Subscription video-on-demand services (SVoD) like Netflix have been rapidly growing in the UK, with 13.3 million homes (47%) "subscribed to at least one of Netflix, Amazon, NOW TV, or Disney Life."
    • Overall, research from the Office of Communications shows "there are still more households taking pay-TV services (14.3 million in Q1 2019, down from 14.8 million in Q1 201856), but overall there are more SVoD subscriptions as many households take multiple services. Netflix remains by far the most popular SVoD service, and in Q1 2019 11.5 million UK households (40%) had a subscription (a 26% increase since Q1 2018). With just over half the number of Netflix households, Amazon Prime Video grew by 23% in the same period to reach 6.0million subscribers in Q1 2019.57 Overall, there were a total of 19.1 million SVoD subscriptions in the UK in Q1 2019, up from 15.4 million in Q1 2018."
    • As of early 2019, 18% of UK households have two or more subscriptions between Netflix, Amazon, and Now TV, and 51% of SVoD subscribers in the UK had both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
    • Among these SVoD subscribers, however, their common viewing habits differed between the two services, "as most (63%) Netflix users say they use Netflix every day or most days, while only 32% say the same about Amazon Prime Video."
    • According to the Office of Communications, "a smaller but growing proportion of users, 14%, claim to use all three services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and NOW TV), up from 10% in 2017.62As fragmentation of the market continues and new SVoD services are launched (such as Disney+ and AppleTV+ later this year) subscribing to multiple SVoD services may become more common."
    • Trend #1: Growing Generational Divide Between Streaming and Traditional TV

      • Between 2018 and 2020, the percentage of UK households surveyed that "say they mainly watch programs on the five traditional channels" rose from 46% to 56%.
      • According to Martyn Whistler, an EY "Global Lead Media and Entertainment Analyst... 'The data hints at a growing appreciation for traditional TV among UK households. It may be at odds with the overall trend in viewing volume on these channels, as captured by audience measurement, but it does reflect rising perceptions of the value that these channels hold in the overall mix of content options.'"
      • The Office of Communications reports that the audience for broadcast TV greatly favors older generations for most the major channels: "Apart from CBeebies (the dedicated children’s channel for 0-6 year olds from the BBC), the channel with the youngest profile was E4 (54% of its audience was aged 35 or over) while the channels with the oldest profile was ITV3 (96% of its audience was aged 35+). Of the main five PSB channels, Channel 4, which has a remit to serve younger audiences, had the highest proportion of under-35s (23%), followed by Channel 5 (20%), ITV (17%), BBC One (12%) and lastly BBC Two (11%). All the main five PSBs (including their +1s) have become older and increased their ABC1 profile."
      • While traditional TV channels are consistently viewed as higher quality than digital alternatives among older generations, younger viewers in the UK are increasingly viewing content from streaming TV services as high quality.
      • The growing generation divide has been identified as a trend in UK TV viewership because survey results from EY show that "59% of 45-54 year olds and 64% of 55-65 year olds believe that traditional channels show the best quality content. Whereas two-fifths (41%) of those in the 18-24 age range see streaming services providing the best programs, and 37% in the 25-34 bracket. Nearly 40% of those in both 18-24 and 25-34 age ranges are in favor of traditional channels."
      • As a result of the strengthened loyalty to streaming services, young UK consumers are more likely to be willing to cancel pay-TV subscriptions and only use online streaming: " 35% of households admitted it was a consideration. For those aged 25-34, the number who expressed a willingness to build their own bundle rose significantly to 61%."
      • While the average time spent watching "linear broadcast TV" has decreased in the UK by 50 minutes between 2010 and 2018, there's been a sharper decline in that average among young viewers, "with 16-34s watching 78 minutes less broadcast TV a day than in 2010."
      • The report also stated that viewers that were older and not part of an ethnic minority were "more likely to perceive that the PSBs deliver high-quality programs. Audiences saw ‘distinctiveness’ as the least important characteristic (55%)," which contrasts starkly with the increasing diversity of content on streaming platforms that are popular with younger viewers globally.
      • Additionally, younger and older generations' attitudes toward advertising are diverging alongside their TV consumption patterns. Overall, advertisements are highly unwelcome for streaming content viewers, "with 40% now stating they are more willing to put up with adverts on broadcast television than around streaming programs."
      • As a result, "for streaming services, there is a growing proportion of customers who are willing to pay to avoid advertising altogether. A year-on-year increase reveals one-quarter of households state their willingness to pay a premium to have streamed, catch-up services without advertising. Of those aged 25-34, typically heavier users of streaming services, are even more likely to pay to avoid advertising, with 49% stating a willingness to do so."
      • From 2017 to 2020, the percentage of UK viewers willing to "pay a premium to stream catch-up TV ad-free" increased from 18% to 24%.
      • In contrast, regarding advertisements, the main concern of older viewers watching traditional TV is the frequency and length, which 51% and 34% of viewers between 55 and 64 years old are concerned with, respectively. Other concerns of this demographic include the type of advertisements shown, such as "payday loan adverts (33%), gambling adverts (32%), adverts offering compensation in no-win-no-fee deals (20%) and adverts for junk food (20%)."

      Trend #2: Divided Attention Between TV Content Sources

      • As a result of the growing number of ways to watch TV, UK consumers are expressing frustration at following their preferred content across multiple platforms, and based on research from EY, "29% of households find it hard to keep track of their favorite content across streaming and traditional viewing services. This spikes to 52% for 25-34 year olds."
      • According to EY's 2020 report, "the proliferation of different services means audiences must search across multiple platforms and channels. The more concerning statistic for providers is the level of frustration among younger audiences, who typically subscribe to and use a higher number of services. For the first time, this figure rose to over half (52%) for 25-34 year olds, up from 40% in 2019."
      • Although streaming services are gaining ground among UK viewers, specific shows on PBS platforms have still been able to capture large-scale attention and interest amongst viewers of all age groups. As the UK Office of Communications report notes, "UK-made drama on the PSBs can still resonate with audiences with Line of Duty the most-watched program in 2019 so far."
      • Other highly successful shows on PSB platforms include Bodyguard on BBC One and Love Island on ITV2. Respectively, the collective viewing time UK audiences spent on these two programs alone equaled "the overall drop in viewed minutes of broadcast TV between 2017 and 2018" (Bodyguard in summer 2018) and "2% of overall broadcast viewing over the duration of the broadcasts" (Love Island for June/July 2018).
      • Additionally, a significant portion of ITV's viewership is due to "its top ten regular programs: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Chase, ITV News, Tipping Point, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, I’m A Celebrity!, The Jeremy Kyle Show(now discontinued) and The X Factor, and in 2018 these accounted for 50% of total minutes viewed on the channel (but only 8% of total output). In contrast, BBC Two does not have many regular programs, so its top ten most-viewed programs account for only 18% of the channel’s total viewing minutes."
      • This indicates that current UK viewers are willing to follow unique content that resonates with them, which means PBS platforms can draw in more viewers by adapting to the accessibility preferences of today's audiences.
      • In response to this trend, PBS platforms in the UK like the BBC have been releasing their content via OTT players like iPlayer: "Programming such as the BBC’s ‘Killing Eve’ aired on broadcast TV, but the BBC also released the entirety of Killing Eve’s Season Two on iPlayer."
      • This approach has been highly successful for BBC, which announced that once its second episode of "Killing Eve" was released on iPlayers, "over 18,000 people watched all 13 episodes in the following two days."
      • Platforms that blend multiple types of content, such as traditional platforms that also offer streaming options, are highly successful with UK viewers. According to international TV research firm Glance, "where [digital] 'preview' is offered (mainly a U.K. event), it can bring an additional 37% audience share to a program."
      • Also, Glance notes that although live TV programs make up most of the daily viewing time in European countries, associated on-demand"catch-up" services are becoming increasingly popular in France, Italy, Span, the UK, and the US across all age groups.

    United States: TV Viewership and Trends

    • According to a study from Hub Entertainment Research, "the days of consumers turning to one source to access their favorite shows are gone, as now the average US consumer watches shows and movies through more than four different sources."
    • The study found that, based on which default TV platform they use, US viewers have varying primary concerns about the content they choose to watch. Although "96.1% of US homes with TVs receive a traditional TV signal or have a broadband connection," the percentage of U.S. viewers that default to live TV is much lower than that figure.
    • For those who do use live TV as their default source of TV content, the fact that it is "live" is the primary reason for watching among 44% of that group. The next most common motivation, at 37%, is "ease of use."
    • Based on Hub Entertainment Research's study results, among US viewers "who default to watching shows on DVR (from MVPD), the majority (69%) say they do so because they are able to skip commercials. Ease (38%) and binge-viewing (32%) are other reasons mentioned."
    • For US viewers whose default TV platform is Netflix, 52% of respondents said that their main concern was avoiding commercials, and 49% also expressed reluctance to switch to " an ad-supported Netflix subscription if one were made available."
    • Among US viewers who defaulted to other popular subscription streaming services, their reasoning varied: "While some 37% of consumers who default to watching Amazon Prime say no commercials is their reason, the most mentioned reason is variety (46%). For Hulu, which does have an ad-supported subscription level, avoiding commercials is not even within the top 4 reasons mentioned. Instead, viewers who default to Hulu mainly do so because it gives them access to the latest shows (44%), followed closely by binge-viewing (43%)."
    • According to CNBC's All-American Economic Survey, 57% of U.S. viewers used a TV streaming service in 2018.
    • The survey also found that 51% of TV streamers in the US have a Netflix subscription, 33% use Amazon Prime, and 14% use Hulu.
    • While 36% of those surveyed reported they used a streaming service and a cable/satellite service, 30% reported only using cable/satellite.
    • Those with only a streaming subscription, often called "cord-cutters," represented 20% of the US viewers surveyed.
    • Among all those surveyed by CNBC, "Americans age 18-34 are among the most dedicated streamers, with 48 percent saying they watch it more than cable, including 32 percent who say they watch it much more than cable. Forty-nine percent of Americans aged 50 to 64 say they stream less than cable, including 30 percent who say much less."
    • Trend #1: Growth of On-Demand TV

      • Market research has revealed that as of 2018 "live TV and over-the-air sources of TV were eclipsed by on-demand viewing sources as the first source consumers turned on when they wanted to watch TV."
      • Although multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) like Dish, Comcast, or Verizon were still the " the single most common default source for TV viewing, with about one-third (34%) of respondents making it their go-to form of TV watching, in 2020, this percentage has been steadily dropping.
      • This is a trend because, despite the dropping percentage of default-MVPD viewers due to more people using streaming services, there has been a simultaneous increase of viewers who default to virtual MVPD (or vMVPD), which are the digital, on-demand versions that many MVPD platforms have started to offer in order to compete for customers interested in streaming TV content, from 3% to 5% between 2018 and 2019.
      • On-demand services, which are mixed between traditional streaming services and vMVPD services are a growing source of TV content for U.S. viewers and have been used by the following percentages of surveyed viewers in the US.
      • Netflix — 64%
      • Amazon Prime Video — 39%
      • Hulu — 31%
      • YouTubeTV — 27%
      • Other — 17%
      • Comcast Xfinity — 30%
      • FuboTV — 3%
      • Also, the number of vMVPD services and other digital TV sources has increased, the most dominant streaming service in the US, Netflix, has begun to see the percentage in default viewers decrease from 2018 to 2019, dropping from 23% to 21% for the first time.

      Trend #2: Multiplatform Viewing

      • TV viewers in the US are engaging in multiplatform viewing at increasing rates, and "among the time that people 18-34 spend watching broadcast originated content on digital devices, 71% of that viewing is spent on smartphones and tablets instead of computers. On the other hand, data shows among the time that people 18-34 spend watching content originated from cable networks on digital devices, 55% of that viewing is spent on mobile devices instead of computers. When specifically looking at consumption of content originated from digital-first publishers, 91% of the time spent on a digital device by the 18-34 demographic occurs on mobile devices."
      • According to Digital Media research, this trend is occurring because of recent expansion in the use of connected devices and high-speed broadband, which has made it easier for companies to develop "internet-based subscription and transaction-based video on demand (VOD) offerings as well as virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) offerings and skinny bundles."
      • To satisfy the demands of consumers that want to be able to watch their shows on any device at any time, companies developing these offering in the last 5 years have focused on adding value-added services that will help them retain picky consumers among the now-crowded market of subscription and online-based TV services.
      • Much of these services have focused don developing content delivery through connected smart TV, computers, and mobile devices, and as a result, "Americans, on average, spend 4.3 billion minutes watching VOD content from the four leading broadcast networks through a connected device."
      • In response to this trend, major networks like ABC, Fox, and NBC have shifted how they are tracking their ratings, instead of relying only on the traditional ratings from Nielsen, which doesn't incorporate audience members from multiplatform viewing.
      • According to the Hollywood Reporter, data from multiplatform viewing provides valuable insight into US audience's viewing habits: "Among the top 20 shows where digital ratings figures are available, multiplatform viewing accounts for 20 percent of the total 35-day audience — and more than a third (37 percent) of the total 18-49 rating."
      • Based on data from ABC, Fox, and NBC, incorporating data from multiplatform viewership "is doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling their same-day numbers — and in a couple cases even doubling their 35-day, TV-only ratings."

    Australia: TV Viewership and Trends

    • According to a report from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen, Australian homes have an average of 6.6 screens from which they can watch TV content, and these devices include "internet-capable TVs, tablets, smartphones, and high definition (HD) TV sets."
    • This report explains the effect that the increase in screens per home has on TV consumption in Australia: "More devices in homes and extensive content choice encourage the cross-screen ‘spreading’ and is changing viewing patterns. The ‘spreading’ that arises from cross-platform and multi-screen activity has impacted the amount of time people spend watching ‘traditional’ TV, which is particularly apparent in the evenings and in live viewing."
    • Despite these changes, the majority of in-home viewership is still comprised of broadcast TV watch-time, and the report states that 82.6% (close to 20 million) of Australians continue to watch both free-to-air and subscription broadcast channels.
    • In Australia, viewers between ages 18 and 24 consume the highest amount of digital video content on the Internet; however, 63.1% of this group still consumer broadcast TV on a weekly basis.
    • Of the close to 350 million minutes that Australians spend watching content from broadcast TV each year, close to 75% of that time was "spent viewing catch-up or on-demand shows, while 89 million minutes [or 25%] was spent on live viewing."
    • Unlike other regional markets, the increase in the use of streaming content in Australia isn't correlated with a significant decline in broadcast TV viewership, and streaming subscribers still regularly consumer broadcast content, with the percentage of people watching broadcast TV each week remaining fairly stable (86% in 2017 vs 90% in 2014, although the 2017 did include time-shift viewing). However, the amount of people accessing content via transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) services like the iTunes store, has decreased considerably (14% in 2017 vs 41% in 2014)."
    • Australian viewers do exhibit similar generational divides in platform preferences as shown in other regions, and broad case television is most popular among people over the age of 60 (96%), while those aged 18 to 34 are more likely to use streaming services (81%).
    • However, catch-up services for broadcaster content are gaining traction with older audiences, with 88% of viewers between the ages of 45 and 59 using these services and 92% of those over the age of 60.
    • What Australians choose to watch on TV is heavily influenced by their social circles, with 65% citing social recommendations as among "their top five influences" of what to watch.
    • In contrast to that fact, research indicates that the majority of Australians (58%) treat TV watching as a " predominantly solitary activity," with 75% saying that they would watch digital content alone if others didn't want to watch with them.
    • Outside of their social circles, Australians in different age groups reference TV recommendations from different sources: "Viewers aged 45+ were the most likely to consult professional news and reviews, whereas younger viewers (18-34s) were most likely to use online recommendations based on past choices (e.g. YouTube’s ‘recommended’ feature or Netflix ‘top picks for…’) and from social media personalities and bloggers."
    • For those that primarily use streaming services to watch TV programs, they "[cite] being able to watch what they want, when they want to, as the main drivers for VOD viewing, although the allure of free content (e.g. broadcaster catch-up and YouTube) and the ability to avoid advertising also registered strongly."
    • Trend #1: Shifting Program Preferences for Traditional TV

      • A growing trend in traditional TV consumption is that Australian's preferences for broadcast programming have shifted to heavily favor specific subsets of TV programs: news and reality television.
      • In a shift away from previous popular genres of traditional television, broadcast TV viewership in Australia is dominated by these two categories, with 61% of Australian viewers watching broadcast news on a weekly basis and 42% watching reality TV shows "such as My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette."
      • In response to this trend, market research firm Roy Morgan reports, "The impressive viewership numbers these shows attract are a key reason why we are likely to see more Reality TV shows on our screens in the years ahead as Australia’s commercial TV networks compete with Streaming Video on Demand services such as Netflix — now viewed by more than 11 million Australians."
      • The next most popular genres of broadcast TV programs as follows: "Current Affairs (34%), Dramas (34%), Quiz/Game Shows (33%), Sport (32%), Home/Lifestyle/Travel (30%), Comedies (30%) and Documentaries (29%)."
      • According to Roy Morgan, "just over a third of Australians watch Current Affairs shows (34%) such as Four Corners, A Current Affair or 60 Minutes in an average week or Dramas (34%) such as Criminal Minds, Midsomer Murders or Call the Midwife on TV in an average week."
      • The top 10 genres exhibit a gender-divide when examining which categories of broadcast TV men and women consume the most, with women consuming, on average, eight of the top 10 broadcast genres, while men are more likely to watch sports than women and are equally likely to watch current affairs programming.
      • Roy Morgan's analysis of this trend argues that the "spread of varied TV genres underlines the importance attached to understanding the different types of Australians that are attracted to these very different shows. To get the most ‘bang for the advertising buck’ it is vital to have a full understanding of who is watching what."
      • In response to the need for increased insight into the habits of the Australian viewer, "Virtual Australia, or ‘VOZ’ is the foundation of Australia’s new ‘Total TV’ reporting standard. VOZ brings together broadcast+ viewing on TV sets and connected devices (smart TVs, desktop/laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones) to provide all-screen, cross-platform planning, and reporting for Australia’s television industry. VOZ delivers step change in the way Australian television is planned, measured, and evaluated."

      Trend #2: Increased Streaming Subscriptions

      • Compared to other English-speaking countries, Australia has been relatively late to gaining access to popular streaming services, with Netflix only starting to offer subscriptions in the country in 2015.
      • However, despite this delay, currently, the number of streaming services in Australia is quickly growing, and as of the end of 2019, "Australian consumers [have] at least seven major subscription video services to choose from: Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Hayu, Foxtel Now, 10 All Access, and Disney Plus."
      • TV industry leaders in Australia have had mounting concerns that streaming video platforms coming to Australia will cause irreparable damage to the local production scene for TV/entertainment content, especially because Australian viewers frequently subscribe to and become engaged with platforms that primarily offer foreign (US-produced) content.
      • According to research from Telsyte, 43% of households in Australia have multiple streaming subscriptions, a significant increase compared to the previous level, 30% in 2018.
      • Although Telsute's research indicates that as much as 33% of Australians are not interested in capping the number of streaming subscriptions they have, some industry experts believe the real-world limit will be three, which means that Australian audiences can become " fragmented as consumers choose platforms that best align with their own tastes."
      • As a result, it will be more challenging for individual TV programs to gain cross-cultural traction as has historically been more common with broadcast television, which means securing loyal consumers is even more important.
      • Currently, Australian-made content is lacking on streaming platforms like Netflix, but research indicates having this kind of content available is critical to reaching broadcast viewers who frequently use catch-up services.
      • Additionally, while Australian produced programs are relatively rare on platforms like Netflix, the rate at which Australians watch these programs is directly correlated with how much is available (i.e. 1.6% of Netflix's content as of 2018), which suggests there's a demand for locally made content that's currently not being met in Australia.
      • One company that is striving to deliver both domestic and international TV content to Australians is CommScope, which " announced its continued partnership with Foxtel, Australia’s leading Pay TV operator, to bring The New Foxtel Experience to subscribers across the country" in October 2019.
      • According to a press release from CommScope, "the New Foxtel Experience leverages CommScope technology to deliver thousands of hours of TV and on-demand movies as well as access to Netflix for subscribers through Foxtel’s iQ4 set-top box. Whether subscribers are streaming videos, recording live programming, or browsing through Foxtel’s massive on-demand library, the iQ4 makes it simple to get everything they want all in one place."
      • This service package leverages Australian consumers' interest in having a Netflix subscription to get them to buy into a large, more comprehensive TV streaming package, which uses the iQ4 software to transmit TV shows via broadcast and the Internet to deliver high-quality images and a wide variety of program options to choose from.