Australia: The Digital Media Nation

Monday, August 12, 2013

Technology is changing faster than ever, and with that, our daily electronic media consumption. While the growth of these new technologies has had a fragmentation effect on media consumption, it has also had an accumulation effect, with the average Australian now spending 10 hours and 19 minutes each day on electronic media. However, because of the multi-screening behaviours of consumers, like browsing the internet while watching TV, or watching a DVD while being on a smartphone, these total hours spent on technology are not the same as total time chronologically.

This McCrindle Research study surveyed 961 Australians on the number of hours they spend each day viewing, browsing, interacting, engaging, playing, and listening to electronic media channels. The results are not only astounding but markedly similar across the generations.

Over 10 hours of media each day

Young Australians are not the only ones spending an extended period of their day on electronic media. In fact, Australia’s Builder generation, those aged 68 and older, are spending more time on electronic media than the Baby Boomers and Gen Xs, almost as much as Gen Y!

Internet usage top of the list

It is of little surprise that Australians spend the largest proportion of their media consumption on internet usage, currently spending an average of 3 hours and 49 minutes each day online via personal computers. While Gen Ys and Gen Xs are slightly below average in their internet usage via PCs, the Baby Boomers and Builder Generation are leading the way in online web browsing. Today’s Baby Boomers spend just short of 4 hours (3 hours, 58 minutes) online each day, while the Builder Generation also spend a surprising 3 hours and 50 minutes on personal computers browsing the internet.

The generational divide

The 1990’s were determinative in shaping Australia’s generations. Those who entered adulthood prior to the ‘90’s, while consuming new media extensively, mostly consume traditional broadcast media. However the generations who were still in their formative years in the 1990’s and so were shaped by the advent of the world wide web, spend more time online than watching broadcast television. In fact for Generation Y, television is not even second in time use, as they spend more time on mobile media platforms (tablets and smartphones) than television.

Television ranks second, just behind internet usage

Whether young or old, Australians have a strong liking towards television, with hours spent watching television almost on par with internet browsing – an average of 3 hours and 14 minutes for the everyday Australian. The older generations – the Baby Boomers and Builders – spend nearly twice as much time watching television as Gen Y and Gen X Australians. Gen Xers watch television the least, devoting just 2 hours and 2 minutes each day to the tube, while the Builder generation watch the most television at 4 hours and 16 minutes.

Smartphone usage a dominant third

The third most popular electronic media channel among Australians are smartphones – from apple to android, Australians love the multipurpose function available to them through their smartphone. Whether through texting, calling, web browsing, navigating, reading the news, checking the weather, listening to music, gaming, or interacting with a range of apps, Australians can’t get enough of them.

Nearly as much time is spent on PC gaming as watching dvds and movies

Australians spend nearly as much time gaming on their personal computers as they do watching DVDs and movies each day. In fact, when gaming via portable game consoles is taken into consideration, Australians spend more time gaming than watching DVDs or movies.

The amount of movie and DVD watching Australians do decreases with age, but the story is not the same for gaming. Australia’s Builder generation spends more time computer gaming than Gen Xs and Baby Boomers – nearly as much as Gen Ys!

Tablet usage evident across the generations

Since the first iPad hit the market in 2010, Australians have already grown to love tablets and use them, on average, for almost half an hour every day. Tablets are not just being used by younger generations – the Baby Boomers and Builders have also taken a strong liking to the user-friendly interfaces made available and the multi-function capacities of such technologies.

While having the lowest media consumption than any other generation, Gen Xs trump the use of the tablet, utilising a tablet device for an average of 36 minutes each day.

The consensus: Australia as a digital media nation

Australians love digital media, and devote over half of their waking hours to interacting with digital media channels. While different generations engage with different mediums, such as Gen Ys preferring the use of smartphones and tablet usage over TV consumption, one thing is clearly evident: Australians are a digital media nation.

Download The Digital Media Nation Report: Click here to download the report.

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