Using the Internet is one of the preferred sources of entertainment in Australia, according to consulting firm, Deloitte. In its 2015 annual media consumer survey, it found 60 per cent of Australians use the Internet for social or personal reasons as their top three entertainment activities.
This shares an equal status as watching TV on any device, which according to Deloitte, shows that Australian families are connected in more ways than one and that social is at the heart of everything they do.
The study, which polled more than 2000 Australians across four generations and five age groups on their interaction with media, entertainment, technologies and information also found that the time spent watching TV and video content has increased to 17.2 hours a week over last year, boosted in part by the advent of mainstream streaming services.
Deloitte media partner and a co-author of the report, Niki Alcorn, said currently, Australians spend an average of 44 per cent of their time watching TV and movie content traditionally - as linear broadcasts.
However, she claimed ‘trailing millennials’ – the 14- to 24-year-olds – spend only 26 per cent of their viewing time watching linear broadcasts and 31 per cent on streamed content.
“Our survey was fielded after the launch of Stan and Presto TV, but before the launch of Netflix Australia, so it captures some, but not all of the impact of these new entrants.
“Some 69 per cent of respondents believe that being able to watch content when and where they want is more important than the device they watch it on. And the most important factor to improve the viewing experience for almost a quarter of respondents would be a ‘simpler way to search and find content’,” she said.
The study also found Australia’s overall engagement with social media and the frequency with which people use it is increasing. It found 80 per cent of respondents use social media, up from 65 per cent in 2012.
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Deloitte telco, media and technology leader, Stuart Johnston, claimed social media use is so ingrained in Australia that for the first time, more than half of survey respondents (51 per cent) stated that the time they spend interacting with others through social media is as valuable as the time they spend together in person.
“In fact, social networks have now become social ecosystems. We are now using social to interact with a much wider ‘ecosystem’ of content and information, and we both contribute to and draw from this ecosystem.
“Keeping up to date with breaking news is one of the top three reasons for using social for 36 per cent of survey respondents. And more than a quarter (26 per cent) of our survey respondents maintain a blog,” Johnston said.
Johnston added social media presents something of a paradox for business.
“Half of us believe our customer service issues are more effectively raised and resolved through social media, and 55 per cent of respondents say they are able to learn more about a company, brand, product and service through their use of social media than via their website.
“However, consumers are still wary of the commercial presence in social media, with 59 per cent concerned with the use of posts and tweets being used for commercial purposes. This is useful information for all businesses. If more than half of us rely on social media as the best way to connect with businesses, Australian businesses definitely need a social strategy,” he added.