Internet Surpasses TV in Australia, Mobile Approaches Saturation Point

March 27, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Email | Media & Entertainment | Radio | Technology | Television

In 2007, internet use in Australia surpassed TV?watching for the first time -?13.7 hours per week vs.?13.3 hours – and mobile use quickly approached saturation,?according to Nielsen Online’s 10th Australian Internet and Technology Report.

TV use in 2006 was at 13.8 hours per week, compared with 12.5 hours of internet use; 2005 levels were even further apart (13.2 hours vs. 8.9):


Media Consumption

  • Australians are awake for around 112 hours per week, and they spend on average 84.4 hours per week across a range of media and leisure activities, up from 71.4 hours in the previous 12 months.
  • Men spend 2.5 more hours per week online and 1.5 more hours watching television than women.
  • Women spend about an hour more per week reading and 1.6 hours more listening to the radio online.
  • Cross-media consumption is on the rise:
    • More than half (58%) of Australians internet users said they have watched TV while online.
    • 48% of respondents have used the internet while listening to the radio.

Traditionally, internet use has not displaced other media, according to Tony Marlow, associate research director, Asia Pacific, Nielsen Online. “In recent years Australians have been increasingly consuming more than one medium at a time, commonly resulting in a fragmented span of attention,” he said.

“While use of the internet continued to grow this year, for the first time ever this was not accompanied by an increase for TV consumption – a possible early warning sign that we are approaching the feared media saturation point.”

Internet Penetration

Australian internet participation (80%) has also reached saturation levels, Nielsen said, increasing just 1% in the past year. (global penetration is 20%):

  • Broadband connections are now found in 84% of Australian internet users’ homes. (up 10 points in 12 months and up 30 points in two years).
  • Broadband technology penetration will grow to 90% by the end of 2008.
  • Most Australian internet users have home access (92%) and one-third (34%) access the internet from work.

Popular online activities:


  • Email is the most popular online activity – used by 98% of those online -?followed by banking and accessing news, sport and weather updates (72% each).
  • Both accommodation bookings and instant messaging are services which will undergo 20% growth in the next year, Nielsen predicts.

Mobile Phone Saturation

Mobile phone ownership is already reaching saturation levels – 92% of Australian internet users own a mobile phone – but despite the increase in mobile handset capabilities, actual use of functions still varies, Nielsen said:

  • Just under half (45%) of those with a mobile internet-capable phone have used the device to go online.
  • Camera functionality is widely used – by 84% of respondents.
  • Mapping/directions information access is the biggest area of mobile content access growth – Nielsen predicts 144% growth, reaching 39% of users by the end of 2008.

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