Convergence and multi-device consumption is booming in Australia, according to Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy survey of more than 2000 Australians across four generations. The key findings of this second annual survey into how people consume media show that TV, tablet, mobile and social use is converging and Australians are tending to use all their screens and devices at once. "We are Digital Omnivores. More than a quarter [28 per cent] of Australians own a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone and we multitask with them," Deloitte media partner, Clare Harding said.
The study found 71 per cent of respondents use multiple screens while watching live TV, which for 63 per cent of respondents remain the preferred form of entertainment across all age groups.
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Australians' next preferred source of media entertainment to live TV is the Internet (44 per cent), followed by listening to music (37 per cent). "But for how much longer? And do we know whether we are multi-tasking while watching TV -- or is the TV on in the background while we are doing other things?" he said.
According to Harding, given Australian consumers' capability and capacity for convergence, media companies are now considering content strategies that are platform, device and distribution neutral. "The industry is investing in smartphone and tablet apps that are useful to customers 'on the go' - replicating the success of mobile banking with 30 per cent of survey respondents across all ages now using their mobile for banking at least weekly," she said.
Harding highlighted the importance for the industry to act now to learn more about customers through the collection and analysis of customer data, the observation of consumer activity in digital environments, and to continue to develop loyalty through the content, brands and experiences that they connect with and those that connect with them.
Deloitte media director and an author of the report, Nicola Alcorn, said another key finding this year is that social is at scale.
"Almost half of all Australian respondents update their social network sites at least five days a week, many a number of times each day. This reliance on social is challenging customer and content strategies for both media organisations and consumer businesses more broadly," she said.
Alcorn added that how people use social media will continue to evolve with multi-tasking behaviours. She also pointed out that the using social channels as a source of information and recommendations for advertising is also gaining traction.
More than half (55 per cent) of all respondents found online reviews influential, with 34 per cent viewing social media as an important tool to learn about products and services.
But, she claimed that even though it might be effective in driving product awareness, it is not necessarily so in conversion as almost 80 per cent of all Australian survey respondents reported that social media has a low influence on their buying decisions. "For advertisers the conundrum is more about how best to sell integrated media in a seamless way and use consumer data to be a source of new revenues - not just reach. And for content developers and rights holders - as the new entrants threaten incumbents -- the issue is about how to keep one step ahead of the game," she added.