Children are watching over 10 hours of screen content per week, with 6.7 hours per week dedicated to watching children’s television programs, movies, videos and DVDs.
New Australian Communications and Media Authority research, Children’s television viewing and multi-screen behaviour, released today, examines the viewing habits of Australian children in the context of a multi-screen environment.
‘The ACMA research findings confirm what many of us may have suspected, that is, children are watching screen content on television as well as on-demand on a range of devices and platforms’, said acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean.
A TV set is the most frequently used device to view children’s programs for those aged 0–14. YouTube, Netflix and free-to-air television catch-up services make up three of the four top online services that they used most frequently.
The research showed that children aged 0–14 were watching 92 minutes of scheduled broadcasts on television per day in 2016 compared to 122 minutes in 2005. While children are spending less time watching live broadcast television, they are still watching programs specifically made for them.
The research also showed that:
- The number of ‘children’s programs’ in the top 30 television programs increased from nine in 2005 to sixteen in 2016.
- The most watched television channel for children was ABC2, particularly for pre-school children, that is, aged 0–4 years.
- Older children, particularly those aged 13–17 are more likely to watch programs of family appeal on commercial TV.
- Seven in 10 parents, carers and guardians monitored what their children watch, with 83 per cent reporting using specific rules and restrictions relating to their child’s viewing of screen content.
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Media release 27/2017 - 7 August
researchacma presents the latest media and communications figures, trends and analysis from the ACMA research team.
The report presents key findings from a 2017 ACMA survey of parents, carers and guardians about their children’s viewing behaviour and an analysis of television audience data between 2005 and 2016. The research focuses on children aged 0–14 years.
The analysis follows on from the ACMA’s previous examination of children’s audience and ratings data published in 2015—Attachment B: Children’s television viewing—Analysis of audience data 2001–13.
On 6 May 2017, the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, announced a media reform package. As part of this reform package, he announced that the Department of Communications and the Arts, Screen Australia and the ACMA would undertake a review of Australian and children’s screen content. The review is charged with identifying sustainable policies to ensure the ongoing availability of Australian and children’s content to domestic and international audiences, regardless of platform. Children’s television viewing and multi-screen behaviour will inform the review.
About the research
The Children’s television viewing and multi-screen behaviour report consolidates the key findings from the analysis of children’s audience data and the survey of parents, carers and guardians aimed at exploring children’s television viewing habits in the context of a multi-screen environment. The methodology is explained below.
Children’s television viewing analysis
In February 2017, the ACMA commenced analysis of children’s programs and audience data in metropolitan areas to assist in understanding of any changes in the use and popularity of children’s programs on free-to-air (FTA) and subscription television (STV).
The source data for the children’s television audience analysis was provided by OzTAM Pty Limited. OzTAM is the official source of television audience measurement (TAM) covering Australia’s five mainland metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) and nationally for subscription television.
OzTAM ratings are the accepted metric by which Australian television audience measures are evaluated. Viewing information is collected from panel households using people meters for more than 100 FTA and STV channels. In 2016, OzTAM’s metropolitan panel comprised a total sample of 3,500 homes across metropolitan Australia (Brisbane 650, Sydney 950, Melbourne 900, Adelaide 500 and Perth 500), with an additional 1,413 homes on their STV panel covering both metropolitan and regional areas, with Regional TAM managing the regional panel (QLD 535, Northern NSW 475, Southern NSW 380, TAS 190, VIC 435 and Regional WA 120).
In March 2017, the ACMA commissioned OmniPoll Research to conduct quantitative research into children’s viewing habits in the context of a multi-screen environment.
This research focused on exploring the following aspects from the perspective of parents, carers and guardians:
- time spent by children viewing either ‘any screen content’ or ‘children’s’ (television programs, movies, videos or DVDs)
- take-up and use of the following to view children’s programs:
- television/video subscription or catch-up services
- multi-screening: devices used, activities undertaken while multi-screening
- quality of children’s television programs or videos
- access and use of video on demand (VOD) services such as YouTube
- method of monitoring what children watch on television, videos or DVDs, including free-to-air or subscription television and video on demand
- important factors in determining the suitability of programs or videos
- rules or restrictions to monitor viewing
- attitudes towards parental control and supervision.
A total of n=1,463 Australian parents, carers and guardians aged 18 years and older with at least one child aged 14 years and under were surveyed online between 27 March and 4 April 2017. Respondents were recruited through online ‘opt-in’ research panels: TEG Rewards (n=723) and Lightspeed (n=740). Triple inter-locking quotas were applied (age within gender within region) to ensure a balanced distribution of the sample and to minimise the influence of weights.
Respondents had the option to answer the survey on the device of their choice, with 41 per cent (n=607) using a mobile device (n=453 on a mobile phone and n=154 on a tablet).