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BizReport : Research archives : March 31, 2008

Australian Internet use overtakes TV viewing

For the first time, Internet use in Australia has overtaken television viewing, according to recent research from Nielsen Online.

by Helen Leggatt

australia-flag.jpgBack in 2005, Australians spent more time watching television than they did online – 13.2 hours compared with 8.9. Internet use increased in 2006 to 12.5 hours, but television still came out ahead with 13.8 hours.

Last year saw Internet use overtake television viewing for the first time, according to Nielsen Online’s 10th Australian Internet and Technology Report.

"Traditionally, internet use has not displaced other media,” said Tony Marlow, associate research director, Asia Pacific, Nielsen Online. “In recent years, Australians have been increasingly consuming more than one medium at a time, commonly resulting in a fragmented span of attention. While use of the internet continued to grow this year, for the first time ever this was not accompanied by an increase for TV consumption - a possible early warning sign that we are approaching the feared media saturation point."

Other key findings from Nielsen’s report include:

- 92% of Australian Internet users have home access.

- By the end of this year, Australian broadband penetration will have reached 90%.

- Men spend 2.5 more hours per week online and 1.5 more hours watching television than women.

- Women spend about an hour more per week reading and 1.6 hours more listening to the radio online.

- 58% of Australians internet users said they have watched television while online.

- 48% of Australians surveyed have used the internet while listening to the radio.

Not everyone agrees with Nielsen’s findings, citing a lack of “robust measurement” within the online sector. Rhonda Brown of industry group Free TV Australia said, in an article in The Australian, that an official ratings source (OzTAM) said that “Australians watched, on average, over three hours and 32 minutes of television a day, or 24.5 hours per week,” and that “despite the evolving media landscape, the appetite for television has remained as strong as ever."

Tags: Australia, Internet usage, television viewing

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