26 September 2023

Aussies returning to watch free TV

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The number of Australians watching free-to-air (FTA) TV has increased for the first time in five years according to a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Releasing its annual How we watch and listen to content report, the Authority said the number of adults who reported watching any FTA TV in a given week increased from 64 per cent in 2021 to 70 per cent in June 2022.

“Paid subscription streaming services continued to dominate viewing preferences, despite long-term growth plateauing in 2022,” ACMA said.

“In 2022, 59 per cent of adults streamed video content through a paid subscription streaming service in a given week, compared to 58 per cent in 2021,” it said.

“This is up from just 29 per cent in 2017.”

ACMA said that for the first time it had started tracking viewing of user generated and short form online videos such as Tik Tok and Instagram Reels.

It said the format was viewed almost predominantly by 18- to 24-year-olds who spent an average of 7.1 hours a week watching this content, “more than any other format, including paid subscription streaming services”.

When it comes to listening habits, the Authority said broadcast radio remained the most popular form of audio content with 75 per cent of Australians tuning in during a given week in 2022.

“The publication also tracks how Australians access news content,” ACMA said.

“In 2022, the majority of Australians (81 per cent) accessed news from online sources in a given week, more so than FTA, catch-up and pay TV (67 per cent), radio and podcast (44 per cent) or newspapers (23 per cent),” it said.

“Despite the demand for online news, FTA TV was still a leading source of news and was cited as the main source of news by the highest proportion of those surveyed (28 per cent).”

ACMA’s interactive Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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