A growing gap between younger and older audiences - what does it mean for traditional media?

Posted Monday 01 Aug 2016


New research commissioned by NZ On Air shows New Zealanders' media consumption habits are changing rapidly as the media environment and technology changes. And the most rapid change is with younger audiences.

The research is a follow-up to a survey first carried out in 2014, which provides the only independent, publicly available data across media types. Glasshouse Consulting surveyed 1,400 New Zealanders aged 15-plus in April and May this year about what media they consumed 'yesterday'.

In the two years since the benchmark survey the media landscape in New Zealand has changed considerably and so too has audience behaviour.

The key findings are:

  • New Zealanders continue to tune in to traditional media in the largest numbers, more frequently and for longer than any other media.
  • This dominance is under real pressure with growing use of online video on sites like YouTube and Facebook, and the NZ launch of online subscription video on demand (SVOD) services.
  • The biggest growth and driver of change since the 2014 survey has been the launch of SVOD services marketed directly to New Zealanders. One in four tune in to a local or international¬† SVOD service like Netflix or Lightbox daily.
  • Even in SVOD homes, linear TV by a fine margin still attracts the biggest daily audience.
  • There is an increasingly big generation gap in media consumption. In 2016 more 15-34 year olds stream online video each day than watch linear TV.
  • Early adoption and increasing access to technology is enabling younger generations to consume more online media.
  • There is a sea change in music consumption - 33% of NZers consume music each day by streaming.
  • But radio remains strong as the place to hear about new music.

"While the results show increasing erosion of traditional media strongholds, these platforms remain for the moment where the biggest audiences are, and for the longest periods of time. Our challenge as a funder is to ensure local content is wherever the audiences are - so we are carefully diversifying our investments," said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

The research results provide valuable information to NZ On Air at a time when it is carrying out a fundamental review of its funding strategy.

"NZ audience behaviour is changing, and so are we. We will be announcing changes to the way we approach our funding investments later this year that will make us more flexible and responsive to the ongoing change," said Ms Wrightson.

NZ On Air will continue to repeat the research at two-yearly intervals to provide valuable information to the market, and inform its own work.

The full report is available at www.nzonair.govt.nz/research along with a series of infographic snapshots.