Young New Zealanders are continuing to lead a march away from traditional media, Netflix is still growing at pace, but TV is still the media New Zealanders spend the most time with overall in a day.

The latest results from the series survey Where Are The Audiences? reveal audience behaviour in 2021, and how this compares to the 2020 survey which was carried out after the country’s first COVID-19 nationwide lockdown*.

The 2021 survey, conducted in April-May by Glasshouse Consulting, asked 1420 New Zealanders aged 15+ about the media they used ‘yesterday’. All results quoted below are for 15+ unless otherwise stated**.

* Usually carried out at two-yearly intervals, the survey has been repeated after one year in 2021 mainly to reassure that the 2020 results were not strongly anomalous.

** The survey has a margin of error of +/-2.6%

Key findings:

  • Online video narrowly reaches the most New Zealanders each day but SVOD and podcasts are the only media to have grown the size of their daily audiences in the past 12 months.
  • New Zealanders continue to spend significantly more time watching TV (118 mins) than using any other media, but the gap is closing. SVOD comes next at 86 mins then radio at 74 mins.
  • Traditional media still attracts the biggest audiences in some key time zones – for example TV still reigns supreme from 6 - 8.30pm. From 8.30pm onwards SVOD and Online video are challenging TV for audience size.
  • Free to air TV continues to hold a steady audience, with the fall in pay TV subscriptions contributing to a lower overall TV figure.
  • TVNZ 1 has the highest overall daily audience reach at 41%.
  • Netflix is the only main provider to grow its audience in the past 12 months now at 40% - up from 14% in 2016.
  • TVNZ On Demand is the clear leader in local OD sites at 17% - a drop on last year due to COVID boosting viewing but still a steady climb since 2014.
  • Debuting strongly in this survey this year are Instagram (20% daily reach) and TikTok (11%) but among 15-24 yr olds Instagram reaches 56% daily and TikTok 39%.

There are three distinct generations of media use:

  • 15-39s where digital media dominates – 82% use online video daily, 72% SVOD and 68% music streaming. Radio is at 36% and TV at 35%.
  • 40-59s who use a wider range of media – TV is still top at 61% but online video is at 58%, and SVOD and radio are equal on 48%.
  • 60+ where traditional media dominates and digital is not growing – 83% use TV daily and 65% radio – online video 26% and SVOD 22%.

The most widely used and most trusted news source in the survey is TVNZ One News with NZ Herald, Stuff, Radio NZ and Newshub all within a few points of each other vying for next most trusted. No more than 3% of New Zealanders trust social media most for their news.

Spotify continues to dominate music consumption – 27% of New Zealanders use it daily, while use of physical formats to listen to music has fallen to just 10%.

The other key observation is that COVID-19 Level 1 and 2 conditions when the survey was conducted in 2020 had only a minor, temporary impact on audience behaviour with the 2021 results showing trend lines continuing in the same direction as they had been prior to 2020.

Targeted audience reports

With additional sampling and building on the data in the Where Are The Audiences? 2021 report, Te Hiringa Hauora / Health Promotion Agency commissioned four separate reports on specific target audiences - Māori, Pasifika, Youth, and lower socio-economic New Zealanders.

You can read all the reports below.

Where Are The Audiences? 2021 Zoom Presentation


The infographics below may be reproduced with credit to NZ On Air.

WATA 2021 Infographic
Three generations of media use