Study by numbers

Nielsen breaks down Oz pay TV watchers

SYDNEY — Australia’s feevee operators have released AC Nielsen audience research figures showing the medium has captured an overall 7.3% viewership.

While individual channel data won’t be released until later this week, the research gives an interesting breakdown of how much time homes with pay channels spend watching them and when, and mark the first serious strike by paybox operators to stake a claim to a larger share of the A$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion) advertising pie in the last major developed market to get pay TV.

Pay TV has garnered only $19.5 million in Oz advertising revenues in the past two years, which feevee execs believe should be closer to $130 million annually when armed with data about the viewing habits of Oz pay TV’s 3.4 million potential viewers.

Most important are figures showing that in 1 million of Oz’s 6.5 million homes with feevee, 46.3% of their total viewing time is spent watching pay channels, going as high as 60% in non-peak times. Pay TV homes tend to have more children than average, and children under 12 spent 80% of their TV watching time with pay channels during the day, while among teenagers, the figure is 70%.

Pay channels appealed more to men than women, and were least appealing to people over 55, according to the research.

While pay TV operators crow about key audiences spending more time watching pay channels than terrestrial, free-to-airs scoff at the research, saying the only figure that matters is that terrestrials still command a 92.7% market share, and that the feevee figure is worse when one considers it is split between 40-odd pay channels.

Packer hospitalized

Meantime, shares in Kerry Packer’s Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. dipped 3% on news that the 61-year-old titan had been admitted to hospital for his second heart operation in a year. And shares in Kerry Stokes Seven Network fell 5% when chief exec Julian Mounter quit after only seven months in the job owing to clashes with Stokes (who has become full-time exec chairman) over the pace of restructuring at the troubled web.

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