Hot Off the Press Release: Digital to Dominate Linear for the First Time

Funding agency NZ On Air predicts digital media audiences will exceed viewership of traditional media this year.

Its latest research shows “global digital giants both fragmenting audiences and overtaking most local platforms”, with only TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand holding their own.

Here’s the media release:

Challenging times for local media as global digital offerings lure audiences

2020 looks to be the year traditional media audiences are overtaken by digital media audiences, according to NZ On Air’s Where Are The Audiences? 2020 research, released today.

In the fourth wave of research in the Where Are The Audiences? series, Glasshouse surveyed 1,511 people aged over 15 by landline and internet in May/June this year. The survey was undertaken a few weeks later than usual to avoid anomalous media consumption during the Level 4 and 3 COVID-19 lockdown.

The findings make sobering reading, with the global digital giants both fragmenting audiences and overtaking most local platforms, with TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand the only local platforms to shine in this year’s survey. The key findings include:

  • Total Linear TV audiences (Free-to-air and Pay TV) have continued to fall, but Free-to-air has remained stable.
  • Linear TV still has the longest time spent watching at 137 mins a day, but that has declined from 156 mins two years ago. (Possibly influenced in part by a lack of live sport during the survey period.)
  • Meanwhile time spent watching subscription video on demand (SVOD) has grown to 95 mins each day – the second most popular media in terms of time spent.
  • The most popular site, station or channel is now YouTube, pipping TVNZ 1.
  • TVNZ 2 and Three have both declined while TVNZ OnDemand continues to grow, now reaching one in five New Zealanders daily.
  • The group that has moved fastest away from linear TV is Asian New Zealanders – just 28% consume linear television today (cf 62% in 2014).
  • Most radio stations have declining daily reach and time spent listening to radio has dropped (RNZ National and Newstalk ZB were the only exceptions – possibly related to higher consumption of news due to COVID.)
  • The rapid change in the way New Zealanders consume music continues with 44% streaming music each day.
  • TVNZ news updates were the most widely used and trusted source of information during lockdown.
  • Online gaming has 36% daily reach overall but 53% in the 15-24 age group (measured for the first time).

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland says the research is vital to understanding the fast-changing and highly pressured media landscape.

“It’s been a tough year all round, and this research brings home what a fight local content makers and platforms have on their hands. Our challenge as an agency, alongside the industry, is to work harder to find ways of engaging local audiences with the exceptional quality of New Zealand stories and songs,” says Mr Harland.

A coming area of focus for the agency will be young audiences, with a review planned to look at the children and youth audience content strategy.

The full report is available here.

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