Another day, another report about the rise of digital in consumers' lives. And this one—TNS Connected Life—shows the average Kiwi now owns approximately five devices and is keeping pace with other nations when it comes to ‘screen-stacking’.
As NZ On Air and Colmar Brunton's recent media consumption study showed, Kiwis still seem to love TV. But TNS says TV sets alone are no longer enough to satisfy Kiwis' appetite for content, and this is driving the growth of online media and the use of multiple digital devices at the same time.
The 2014 survey of over 55,000 internet users worldwide found that 48 percent of those who watch TV in the evening simultaneously engage in other digital activities, such as using social media, checking their emails or shopping online. So, as Super's Ron Sneddon found when he put a few GoPro cameras on Kiwi heads as part of a small experiment, while the TV might be on, attention might not be focused on it.
In New Zealand, 55 percent of Kiwis are using more than one screen when watching TV in the evening and the trend is similar in Australia, where 50 percent of consumers take part in ‘screen-stacking’. In comparison, within APAC Japanese internet users ‘screen-stack’ at the highest level of 79 percent, while Chinese defy the trend, with only 37 percent of internet users partaking.
Multi-device ownership is fuelling this trend. New Zealanders now own approximately five digital devices each, which is similar to Australia, Japan, Germany and the UK. Growing demand for TV and video content on the go is also contributing.
The desire to access video at all hours of the day is also driving online video usage. Around 17 percent of Kiwis nationwide are heading online to watch videos. This relates to the trends picked up globally, as one quarter of the global internet users now watch content on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile daily.
“In a world where multi-tasking is the norm, the context in which we watch TV is rapidly changing," says TNS New Zealand director David Thomas. "It isn’t just on the sofa at home with no other digital distractions around us. It is not surprising that we are seeing such a pronounced trend in New Zealand towards ‘screen-stacking’ - the appetite for online content is significant and growing all the time.”
Many of the big global media companies are already taking advantage of this trend—or at least being forced to respond to consumer demand for it—and offering on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu or HBO Go (a story in the Herald showed that since Slingshot launched its Global Mode, the number of customers accessing movie websites like Netflix has quadrupled and the volume of traffic to them was 12 times greater than what it was). In New Zealand, media companies like Sky, TVNZ and MediaWorks are also recognising this trend, offering ondemand services and mobile apps so viewers can watch when they want to.
“Many people around the world are still wedded to their TV sets, particularly when they are with their families and friends and 69 percent of Kiwis still tune in to the box daily," says Thomas. "But while traditional TV still has its role to play, advertisers must adapt to our changing viewing habits. Online devices are offering more ways to access TV and video content, meaning that brands will need to adopt a more integrated online approach in order to engage consumers. There’s a real opportunity for those that understand how to really integrate their activity in our increasingly connected world."
But for those who want to go the opposite direction, here's The Atlantic's Dougie Howser Dr James Hamblin explaining the joy of single-tasking.