SYDNEY: Streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services are eating into traditional television audiences in Australia, with 15% of streaming users now claiming to watch no broadcast TV at all, a new survey has said.

A study by media agency ZenithOptimedia surveyed more than 1,000 Australians aged 14-59 and found that those subscribing to SVOD services were watching around one third less broadcast TV than those who didn't subscribe.

"Time spent watching broadcast is being cannibalised by streaming," Luisa Howard, insights director at ZenithOptimedia, told Ad News.

"Viewers are moving their quality time to SVOD and, for advertisers, this means eyeballs are moving to a space where we can't reach them," she added.

Howard explained that while a brand could get some reach points using broadcast TV, "the really strong impact is in SVOD".

"Broadcast is now often background noise," she said. "When viewers finish everything for the day is when they switch on SVOD and spend time focusing on a particular program."

The study found that 40% of viewers reported "very high" attention levels while watching SVOD; only 20% claimed a similar focus while watching broadcast.

SVOD viewing also dominated peak times, between 7.30pm and midnight, although broadcast TV continues to rule the rest of the day, peaking between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

"We are being forced to be smarter about how we buy linear TV, in particular focusing on the earlier part of peak from 6pm to 7.30pm," said Howard. "We need to make sure we are in the genres that work for broadcast TV – reality, news and sport."

Some advertisers will have to look beyond television, the report advised; men under 40 with above average income and who are early tech adopters, for example, is no longer an audience one can expect to easily find watching broadcast TV.

SVOD penetration currently stands at around 15% but is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years and could hit 50% by 2020.

Data sourced from Ad News; additional content by Warc staff