Australians love their TV, but want a simpler experience

By Jenni Gilbert | 28 February 2020

Australians’ appetite for TV is hungrier than ever. And for the vast majority of viewers - 76% - as long as they can easily access what they want to watch, the device and service simply don’t matter.

Top of mind for programmers and advertisers alike should be that, in 2020, viewers think of TV as content, not the number and proliferation of the tools to get it, says Christian Kurz, senior vice president of global insights at ViacomCBS, parent company of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and now Network 10.

Kurz was in Australia to present ViacomCBS’ global research project, Today’s TV, at the Future of TV Advertising summit in Sydney.

“Today’s TV sampled 10,000 people in 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Thailand, UK and US) to explore what TV means to people around the world today,” Kurz told AdNews.

"It has demonstrated how TV (defined as `TV shows and movies'), fulfils three primary needs: it indulges viewers, it brings the family together, and it opens our minds by raising the visibility of previously untold stories."

Kurz explained that the Australian sample was +1000 and there are some distinct differences between the local responses and global averages:

  • More Australians feel TV is part of their daily lives (84% v 69% global),
  • 83% say TV is an important source of entertainment (vs 70% global)
  • 83% are excited by the options they have to watch TV today (vs 77% global)
  • 76% feel that as long as they can access what they want to watch, the device and service don’t matter
  • 88% find TV as a source of comfort (vs 66% global) but 79% wish it was easier to find TV shows and movies. And 85% also wish they could access all their TV content through just one service.

He says the survey findings sound a warning bell that, while consumers use TV to reduce stress, they find the amount of content available to them can be overwhelming.

"Nearly two-thirds say that there are so many great TV shows coming out, it’s difficult to keep up," according to Kurz.

"Searching for content is time-consuming and frustrating – especially on VOD services. Viewers yearn for simplicity, with 80% saying they wish they were able to access all their TV content through one service and 77% wishing it were easier to find the TV shows and movies they love.

"Viewers are also defaulting to content they know. They want TV to be easy, not another set of decisions to make. For some, this means watching something they’ve seen before. Others turn to linear TV as a way of simplifying their choices.

"In short, people love TV as much as ever, but with so much great content it’s stressful to decide what to watch. To improve their viewing experience, give them the ease and seamlessness they crave. This applies to advertising as much as programming."

Today's TV talked to 10,000 people in 10 countries via an online survey and in-home ethnographies with selected viewers. For some respondents, ViacomCBS affixed Go Pro cameras to their TV sets to get a front-seat view to their TV habits.

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