Despite all the talk about audience fragmentation, mobile devices and online viewing, the vast majority of Australians continue to watch free-to-air television, overwhelmingly live.

A new study shows 95% of the population watches FTA channels and 93% view live broadcasts. Nearly 40% record programmes to watch later and 27% use the broadcasters‘ catch-up services.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority report following its contemporary community safeguards inquiry found 93% of viewers watch the primary FTA channels and 80% also view the other digital FTA channels.

Of those surveyed, 31% are pay TV viewers and 11% patronise on-demand services such as Apple TV, Fetch and BigPond Movies.

The proportion of respondents viewing free-to-air television increased with age, from 89% for those aged 15 to 17 years to 98% for 65 and above.

On-demand services were twice as likely to attract those aged between 15 and 54 (from 12%-14%) compared to those aged 65 and above (6%).

People who speak a language other than English were rather less likely to watch FTA channels (87%) and more likely to watch on-demand internet television (19%). Pay TV subscribers were more likely to time-shift (56%) than other viewers.

Unsurprisingly, ABC and SBS news and current affairs viewers were more likely to be tertiary educated. A higher proportion of viewers of news and current affairs on pay TV were from higher income households earning more than $100,000 per annum.

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