Advanced Television

Research: 14.5m Australians pay-TV subs  

December 2, 2019

Roy Morgan research shows over 14.5 million Australians now have access to some form of pay-TV/subscription TV, up 8.2 per cent on a year ago. The combined audience for these services is almost 70 per cent of the Australian population, as new subscription TV services Apple TV+ and Disney+ enter the market this month.

Netflix remains the market leader, with 11.9 million Australians (57 per cent of the population) now having a Netflix subscription in their household, up 15 per cent on a year ago.

Pay-TV service Foxtel has grown its audience by 1.5 per cent to more than 5.2 million over the past 12 months. Its Kayo Sports streaming service has found an audience of 770,000 in the year since it launched, providing a significant boost to Foxtel’s numbers. However Foxtel’s reach of 25 per cent of the population is less than half that of Netflix.

The leading Australian-owned subscription TV service is Stan, which is now accessible by more than 3.3 million Australians, up an impressive 60.5 per cent on a year ago. Stan is a fully owned subsidiary of the Nine Entertainment company.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

“The growth in subscription TV services in Australia has been extraordinary, with Netflix accessible by well over 50 per cent of Australians only four years after launching” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine. “Its success, in Australia and elsewhere, has quickly attracted many competitors to the market, including locally owned Stan and cashed-up international rivals including YouTube Premium and Amazon Prime Video. What we’re finding is that people are not choosing one or the other, they are having multiple streaming services.”

Sometime in mid-2016 the number of Australians with access to some form of pay-TV outstripped the number without pay-TV.

However, even today a significant number of Australians, more than 6.4 million, or nearly a third of the population, don’t use a pay-TV or subscription TV service – although this is down 10.4 per cent on a year ago. “Free-to-air TV is going to be relevant to those people,” said Levine, but nonetheless it faces “enormous pressure”.

In recent weeks, both Apple TV+ and Disney+ have launched new subscription TV services in Australia, with Disney having first removed its content from existing services. These new entrants, “are sure to provide intense competition for existing services,” noted Levine, “If Disney can bundle its content with a really good delivery service it will be a major competitor.”

A significant question facing existing services and new entrants to the market, is will Australians use more than one service – and the answer so far is a clear yes.

Netflix and Foxtel is the most popular combination amongst those with two or more services, with nearly 3.4 million Australians having access to both services, up 21.7 per cent on a year ago. However the combination of Netflix and Stan is closing in, with over 3.1 million now accessing both services, up 63.5 per cent on a year ago.

Over 1 million Australians have access to both Foxtel and Stan, an increase of 56.5 per cent on a year ago.

The growth in adoption of pay-TV/subscription TV services over the last four years has been phenomenal and this is largely down to the take-up of Netflix throughout Australia.

The growth in Netflix meant that by August 2016, less than 18 months after its launch, for the first time more Australians had access to pay-TV/subscription TV than those didn’t. This was also when Netflix passed 5 million household viewers for the first time.

Today over two-thirds of Australians (69 per cent) have access to pay-TV/subscription TV compared to only 31 per cent that don’t.

Netflix milestones since launching in Australian on March 24th, 2015

  • 500,000 viewers: 2 months after launch;
  • 1 million viewers: 3 months after launch;
  • 1.5 million viewers: 4 months after launch;
  • 2 million viewers: 6 months after launch;
  • 2.5 million viewers: 7 months after launch;
  • 3 million viewers: 10 months after launch;
  • 3.5 million viewers: 11 months after launch;
  • 4 million viewers: 1 year after launch;
  • 5 million viewers: 17 months after launch;
  • 6 million viewers: 22 months after launch;
  • 7 million viewers: 2 years after launch;
  • 8 million viewers: 2 years & 5 months after launch;
  • 9 million viewers: 3 years after launch;
  • 10 million viewers: 3 years & 4 months after launch;

•        11 million viewers: 4 years after launch.

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