Survey: 91% of viewers multitask while watching TV

Australians are multi-tasking in front of the TV more than ever, according to a new survey.

Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey found that this year and last year, 91% of respondents multi-tasked while watching TV.

The figure is up from 79% in 2014 when it first started reporting.

The trend is even more pronounced for Millennials, 96% of whom multi-task.

Fifty-eight percent use smartphones while watching TV, ahead of laptops and tablets at 29% and 28% respectively.

Favourite activities include web browsing (26%) emailing (20%) and texting (19%). TV and social media are the most popular combination, with 27% using social media at least three quarters of the time they’re watching TV, and this is even higher for Millennials at 43%.

SVOD subscriptions have continued to grow this year. Almost half (43%) of total respondents purchase an SVOD subscription for their household, up from 32% last year, representing a 48% compound annual growth rate since 2014 when just 9% of respondents had a subscription.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they require more than one video streaming service to get the content they are looking for, which is reflected in the fact that subscribers are now paying to use an average of two SVOD services.

Australia continues to have three major SVOD players in Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now (89%, 26%, and 23% of survey respondents with an SVOD service respectively), while YouTube Red (11%) and Amazon Prime (8%) had lower subscriber numbers among survey respondents.

Despite 20% of respondents indicating last year that they would cancel their pay TV subscription in the next 12 months, subscriptions have remained stable at 31%. Pay TV remains the most valued media content subscription for all age groups (except Trailing Millennials) beating SVOD, streaming music services, gaming, newspaper and magazine subscriptions.

Sixteen percent of respondents indicated they are likely to cancel their subscription in the next 12 months, down from 20% last year. The primary reason for this intention to cancel across all age groups is the availability of content on streaming video services such as Netflix and Stan. Fifty-five percent of respondents intending to cancel their pay TV subscription cited this reason, a significant increase on 13% from last year. The exception to this is the Boomers who feel free-to-air TV provides sufficient content (43%).

The survey covers more than 2000 consumers from 14 – Over 71.


  1. It is not really a new thing, though. Just that the second activity is now technological. Life has always been too short to not multitask when the show can just be listened to. Since the advent of TV, people have done activities with their hands (craftwork, repairs, homework) while listening with one ear for the TV.

    One of the wonderful things about the cricket is that you can achieve a whole day’s worth of other things while still watching.

  2. Churn rates for Pay TV are high. New subscribers are always signing up, while others are quitting.

    You can’t follow dialogue properly while reading or typing anything, so most people aren’t paying much attention to shows, and probably tuning out ads entirely.

  3. My kids are Gen Y and have always done this…daughter smartphone…son gaming…PC…I do also…currently on here and watching Blue Bloods…Been on 10 since Bachelorette…..also chatted with US friends for an hour inbetween…..None of us do subscription …to busy with other things.

    • Probably people over 70 (like me), although I (75) do check stuff on my phone and do other stuff. Lots can be done during 5-minute ad breaks. I only watch the ads for the past week to catch the ad with the guy in the Tramps Wollongong commercial. Is he the married guy on The Bachelorette?After two nights not sure. Asked daughter (25). Found it on her phone in 5-secs. Yes it is. So can go back to my anti-dementia word puzzles during ad breaks again.

  4. Jᴏʜɴɴʏ 1ᴘ5

    You can count this 58 year old in that 91%, however roughly 50% of the time.

    There are shows like Legion, Mr Robot, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and etc., that I don’t do that with and others like Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, Death In Paradise and etc., that I do. Some shows like American Horror Story some seasons I do and some I don’t, generally on my pad and yeah I’m an Amazon Prime subscriber with watching some seasons of things via Fetch TV and paying for them like Suits etc., movies as well however I check price on Google and Fetch and take the best value one. Then it is iView and the Curiosity Stream, SBS OnDemand I find frustrating and lost I interest in the World Movies Channel because ads are shown during the movies and I just can’t do it, I drop in and out of Netflix and Stan use them mainly for some shows (Stranger Things and Better Call Saul to name two).

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