BPM welcomes the latest NZ On Air research into audiences
Better Public Media Trust congratulates NZ On Air for the latest survey entitled Where Are the Audiences 2018
The research shows that viewing trends are gradually moving online, but that the rate of change is slowing. One of the
headlines from the research is that Online ‘Reach’ is getting closer and closer to Television Reach, and may even
overtake it in two years.
Better Public Media stresses that this statistic is for Reach, which can be defined as ‘the number of people reached by a platform, irrelevant of how long they watched for’. So, the
Reach for Online Video will include everyone who watches online video, even just a minute on YouTube in that 24-hour
period. It doesn't distinguish from those who watch four hours on YouTube each day, nor those who watch a minute online
and then 3 hours on the TV.
Therefore, the figures for Time Spent Consuming Media are equally important (slide 32), and these figures are where the research gets interesting. Because the Time Spent Consuming Total (net) Linear TV only dropped by a small amount (6 minutes per day). And is still three times the levels for Online Video.
The research also shows that the growth in Time Spent Consuming Online Media has slowed.
All of this is very important as the government and Clare Curran’s Ministerial Advisory Group decide how best to spend
taxpayers’ money on public service media.
Because online viewing is still less than a third of normal television viewing, and the rate of change is actually
decreasing, the case for investment in a public service TV channel is still very strong.
If the Time Spent Consuming Online Video was greater than TV then the sensible response would be to make programmes for
online only and move away from television. But it doesn’t. The audiences for Linear TV are still the strongest and don’t
seem likely to lose dominance for years to come.
Better Public Media stresses that for the sake of effective use of government money, funding go towards platforms where
the real viewing happens – and that is still predominantly television.
Young people (and incidentally most television commentators) have moved to online video, showing the need to also
provide online video, which is happening with most broadcasts available online and occasional web-only projects.
To their credit, NZ On Air are aware of the nuances in these figures and distribute funding accordingly.
It is also important that organisations choosing where to invest in New Zealand’s public media infrastructure – RNZ, the MAG and the government – take notice as well.