TV still matters to Australians: Viacom – Australian Financial Review AFR

Australians feel like they are watching more television than a year ago, but they’re consuming it across a range of devices, Viacom senior vice president of global insights Christian Kurz said.

By Max Mason in Australian Financial Review:

Mr Kurz, who is in Australia to talk at the Future of TV conference in Sydney on Thursday, said consumers don’t define television by device.

“When I say TV, it really is with the consumer definition, which they brought back to us, which is television is anythiny professionally produced, video content that is somewhere between five minutes and an hour and a half,” Mr Kurz said.

“Essentially, it remains true that the biggest TV screen, otherwise known as the TV set, sits very much at the top of that hierarchy.”

Viacom, which undertook a global study called TV Matters, reported Australians feel like they’re watching 5 per cent more TV than a year ago.

The study recorded viewing habits and thoughts from 15,600 people aged between 6 and 44 across the Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the US and UK.

It also added to that study 150 participants across six countries who volunteered to go without TV for a week.

In Australia, Viacom has content deals with the likes of Foxtel and Fetch, providing content such as MTV and Nickelodeon.

“People only switch to smaller or other screens in one of three reasons. One being, somebody else is already watching something on the big screen — that is particularly relevant for kids and teens who may not have control over the big set. Second, if there is no TV set available, either because you’re out and about or just because there isn’t one. The third, is if you want a bit more privacy around the consumption of the content you’re watching,” Mr Kurz said.

“From an audience perspective for kids, a lot of that is tablet because the big screen is already occupied, but they’re sitting there.”

The TV Matters study found Australians were 4 per cent more likely, than the global average, to agree TV is an important source of entertainment in their lives, at around 71 per cent of respondents.

However, only 43 per cent of respondents said it was important to be able to watch their favourite TV show whereever they are, versus a 50 per cent global average.

Mr Kurz said the study found there is a preference to watch content on the TV screen, whether it be delivered via the internet or traditional broadcast.

“Kids love tablets, but they also love the TV screen. Across all of the age groups we looked at … the TV screen by far is the no.1. The one age group where we’re seeing a little bit of a wobble in that, and TV is still ahead but there’s other devices creeping in a lot, is the 18-24 year olds,” he said.

“What we’re seeing there is they’re simply prioritising different things — it’s a time of transition, they’re reprioritising their time, and they’re not particularly money rich and therefore very price sensitive, they also happen to often live in houses that don’t have a TV set because they’re either off at university of they’re still living with their parents but in a separate part within that. We are then seeing as soon as somebody movies in with a romantic partner, the TV set is one of the first things they buy.”