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Baby Boomers love TV news while Millennials & Gen Z surf the net

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source: April 2017 – March 2018, n = 15,067 Australians aged 14+.
Addressable TV is set to shake up the TV advertising industry significantly over the next few years as commercial TV channels gain the ability to target advertising at finely segmented audiences.

Roy Morgan’s extensive demographic data covering the attitudes Australians have towards advertising shows that contemporary Australians are largely sceptical of advertising with 75% that agree that ‘Some TV advertising is devious’ and some 67.6% that say ‘Nearly all TV advertising annoys me’. These insights are covered further in a release analysing the impact of addressable TV available here.

The key for commercial TV channels looking to maximise their advertising revenues is understanding what their audiences want to watch and then providing the correct content to engage with their audiences.

Over 90% of Australians aged 14+ watch TV in an average week equivalent to over 18.5 million potential consumers. Of this massive audience over 16.5 million (81.8%) watch Commercial TV on an average day while a further 6.4 million (31.8%) watch Pay TV/SVOD in an average week. Clearly there is a large degree of crossover in these audiences although already there are those who only watch one or the other.

Analysing attitudes towards TV viewed through the prisms of different generations shows some substantial differences between younger and older Australians when it comes to TV.


Australian attitudes to watching TV by Generation – % Agree

Attitudes to TV & TV advertising - 12 months to March 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source: April 2017 – March 2018, n = 15,067 Australians aged 14+.

Large majorities of Pre-Boomers (88.4%) and Baby Boomers (75.3%) agree they ‘always watch the news on TV to keep me up-to-date’ compared to just over half of Generation X (52.1%) while only a third of Millennials (33.5%) and just over a quarter of Generation Z (27.2%) agree with the statement.

However, this trend is reversed when it comes to multi-tasking while watching TV. Nearly two thirds of Generation Z (65.2%) and a similar amount of Millennials (60.1%) agree with the statement ‘I like to surf the net while watching TV’ compared to less than half of Generation X (43.4%), only 18.4% of Baby Boomers and just 8% of Pre-Boomers.


Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the potential of addressable TV to provide a ‘new lease of life’ to a TV industry challenged by the rise of the Internet means it’s more important than ever for commercial TV channels to have a qualitative understanding of their viewers:

“In recent years the rise of the Internet at the expense of more traditional advertising mediums has often been accepted as a fait accompli. However, new technologies such as addressable TV give traditional media the ability to fight back and retain, and even grow, their shares of the advertising pie.

“By harnessing the power of in-depth interviews with thousands of Australians (Roy Morgan’s Single Source) businesses can delve into the habits and preferences that drive the consumer choices of over 18.5 million Australians that watch TV whether free-to-air or Pay TV/SVOD.

“Contrasting attitudes towards TV news are a prime example. TV news has been a staple of TV channels for decades, however the very different views younger and older generations have towards TV news mean the early evening news bulletins could soon be a thing of the past.

“While large majorities of Baby Boomers (75.3%) and Pre-Boomers (88.4%) ‘Always watch the news on TV to keep me up-to-date’ only a third of Millennials (33.5%) and just over a quarter of Gen Z (27.2%) are avid consumers of TV news.

“The different priorities younger and older generations have when watching the TV are highlighted when further research reveals nearly two-thirds of Gen Z (65.2%) and two-fifths of Millennials (60.1%) ‘like to surf the net while watching TV.’ This is in stark contrast to the older generations as only 18.4% of Baby Boomers and 8% of Pre-Boomers surf while watching TV.

“Clearly the priority and attention older Australians give to the TV when watching isn’t shared by their younger peers who are content to have the TV on in the background while consuming content via the Internet whether on their laptop, their smartphone, or both.

“These choices clearly have a significant impact on the effectiveness of advertising and underline the importance for content providers of understanding consumer preferences in a world undergoing rapid change.

“Only Roy Morgan which conducts over 50,000 in-depth face-to-face interviews each year with Australians in their own homes can deliver an understanding of Australians of all shapes and sizes segmented by any demographic or attitude deemed important to gaining the edge on the competition.”

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