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Number of Australians not watching commercial TV doubles in seven years to 14.9 per cent

The number of Australians who claim they don’t watch any commercial TV on weekdays has now risen to 14.9%, compared with just 6.9% seven years ago.

The finding comes from new Roy Morgan research which claims that the largest demographics reporting to not to watch commercial TV are those under 35 years of age.

Number of Australians reporting they don't watch TV. Source: Roy Morgan.

Number of Australians reporting they don’t watch TV. Source: Roy Morgan.

According to the research, in 2015, ore than one in five 25 to 34 year olds (20.7%) watched no commercial TV – up almost three-fold from the 7.6% who couldn’t be reached by the channel in 2008. While among those aged 14 to 24 year old the figure was 18.8% – up from 7.0% in 2008.

Tim Martin, general manager of media at Roy Morgan Research, noted: “Commercial television has the biggest reach of any medium… Commercial TV is now unable to reach around a fifth of all 14 to 34 year-olds, and the trend looks set to continue. In another seven years, it might well be one third.

“Already the very idea of ‘seeing what’s on TV’ at a particular time is beginning to seem a little archaic next to the massive libraries of niche, personally appealing content ready – by definition – on demand.”

Roy Morgan’s research also noted the growing challenges facing commercial TV due to streaming video on demand (SVOD) players such as Netflix, Stan and Presto.

Australians aged 14 to 24 and 25 to 34 with SVOD in the home reported that they watch 13 minutes less TV on average per day than their counterparts who don’t use the service.

Source: Roy Morgan

Source: Roy Morgan

The difference was even starker among older groups: 35 to 49 year old subscribers claimed they watch 19 minutes less, and viewers 50+ watched 33 minutes less commercial TV – in part, says Roy Morgan, because these older SVOD subscribers are atypical of their age group.

“Commercial TV networks will need to become more innovative with content and scheduling, rights deals and partnerships, how advertising is incorporated into programming,” said Martin.

“Foxtel has yet to suffer any significant drop-off in lapsed customers with SVOD, so far, broadening the paid television market rather than competing with Foxtel,” he claimed.

“Most viewers aren’t desperately trying to avoid any advertising whatsoever, it’s just that there are more easy ways to circumvent it so why not record a show and skip through ads, download it, legally or illegally, subscribe to SVOD, or simply switch attention to the tablet or phone the second an ad break arrives?”

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