It's official - television is still king - but not by much.
The latest Deloitte media consumer survey has found our shift in entertainment preferences to the internet from TV has grown 10 per cent year-on-year for the past three years. When ranking their preferred viewing medium for entertainment, 63 per cent prefer the internet, just behind 64 per cent for TV.
However, reading news online has overtaken print.
These are some of the key findings of the third annual survey into how Australians, across four generations and five age groups, prefer to consume media.
It has found that many of the long anticipated digital tipping points are either here, or will be here this year.
The results confirm that more than half (53 per cent) of us are digital omnivores (up from 28 per cent last year).
This ‘dosing up on devices’ has largely been driven by increased tablet ownership with 63 per cent of respondents now owning tablets as well as laptops (87 per cent) and smartphones (81 per cent), according to the survey of more than 2300 Australians.
It found we are habitual multi-taskers, 79 per cent of us multi-task while watching TV (up 8 per cent from last year).
We also love our apps, especially the social network and weather ones.
We are demanding faster internet speeds and are willing to pay a premium.
We check our social networks a lot – up 170 per cent since last year.
Advertising on social media is increasingly influential – a third of us find it influential when it comes to buying decisions.
Deloitte Media Partner and co-author of the report, Niki Alcorn, said digital had come of age in this year's survey.
“Our findings on what we use, where we use it and how, all show that Australians are increasingly sophisticated and savvy when it comes to digital," she said.
"Even the matures and boomers, who are our fastest growing group of tablet users at 42 per cent and 21 per cent compound annual growth respectively, are multitasking while watching TV. They mostly read emails or surf the web.
Alcorn said it was the speed at which we were changing to digital that was most impressive.
“Our shift to social is up 170 per cent, and our shift in entertainment preferences to the internet from TV has grown 10 per cent year on year for the past three to its current 63 per cent preference versus 64 per cent for TV," she said.
“In Australia for instance there is a greater proportion of ‘digital omnivores’ than in the US (37 per cent) or Japan (17 per cent).
At 53 per cent, Australia is just behind Norway’s 57 per cent, although well behind China (63 per cent).
Alcorn said the way we consumed media was about speed and convenience.
“For instance when it comes to TV and video content, we rent movie and TV shows using whichever method is most convenient at the time, with a preference for digital emerging," she said.
"Over the next couple of years almost a quarter of survey respondents say they will subscribe to an online streaming service, with 21 per cent intending to rent a digital copy.
Convenience is also key when it comes to watching our favourite TV shows.
While live TV on a home system is still the most common way to view (65 per cent), almost a quarter of us will watch the show later on a DVR through the home TV system, or use catch-up services, including a free online video services and a show’s internet site (18 per cent).
The digital tipping point has past for news – 35 per of survey respondents said they either always prefer their newspaper content in a digital format, with a further 35 per cent restricting their print newspaper reading to the weekend.
Traditional news formats continue to decline with 32 per cent of respondents indicating that keeping up with breaking news was one of their top three reasons for using social media.
Compared with other surveyed countries, Australia has the lowest newspaper subscription rates per household whether print or digital, at 22 per cent, compared with the top ranking Japan’s (53 per cent), the UK (51 per cent) and China (44 per cent).
An additional 8 per cent have digital-only subscriptions.
Newspaper subscriptions have declined by 5 per cent over the past three years while digital-only subscriptions have grown by 26 per cent, albeit from a very low base, with both major newspaper organisations in Australia now having pay-walls in place.
It found 92 per cent of Australians said that they would not pay for news online, as they believe there is enough information available for free.
When it comes to magazines however the printed magazine is holding its own and remains the preferred way to read magazine content (49 per cent).
Nearly half magazine subscribers indicated that even if the price were favourable they would still prefer to read a printed magazine rather than a digital version.
When it comes to advertising it is becoming easier than ever to understand consumers’ interests and needs through insights drawn from the information trails we leave all over the Internet.
Deloitte Media leader, Clare Harding, said the survey shows that 44 per cent of participants would be willing to see more online ads if they provide access to free content that they find valuable.
“Ads delivered during or after an online video for instance appear to be becoming more influential, with 33 per cent of surveyed respondents ranking these online ads in the top three online influences on their buying decisions,” she said.
“However although online advertising is picking up and the influence of print advertising beginning to subside, more than half of our survey respondents still pay more attention to print advertising in newspapers and magazines than they currently do to online ads.
"And of this mass advertising, television is still the most influential in terms of buying behaviour."