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Streaming boom across 2020

Lockdown has led to 17.3m Australians now watching a Subscription TV service.

Subscription TV numbers boomed in 2020 with viewers in lockdown from late March until late May and a second, longer lockdown Victorians.

Roy Morgan research claims shows 17.3 million Australians (82.1%) watched a Subscription TV service in an average four weeks, up 2.4 million (+16.2%) from a year ago.

Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Disney+ and Amazon Prime have all seen lifts in the three months to September 2020 compared to the same three month period a year ago.

Netflix is by far Australia’s most watched subscription television service, with 14,168,000 viewers in an average four weeks, an increase of 2,265,000 viewers from a year ago (+19.0%). Over two-thirds of all Australians aged 14+ (67.2%) now watch Netflix in an average four weeks.

Foxtel experienced even faster growth across its services this year and now has a total of 7,748,000 viewers of either Foxtel, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports or Binge in an average four weeks, up 2,363,000 viewers from a year ago (+43.9%).

Also growing viewership strongly during 2020 have been Stan, which grew 1,562,000 (+46.4%) to 4,928,000 viewers, Amazon Prime, up 2.158,000 (+190.2%) to 3,293,000 viewers and newcomer Disney+ which now has 2,870,000 viewers after being launched in late 2019.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said, “The strong growth for the leading services in the market shows Australians are increasingly viewing multiple services to find new and interesting content. For example over 5.6 million Australians watch both Netflix and Foxtel services in an average four weeks and nearly 4.7 million watch both Netflix and Stan.

“After a bumper year in 2020 the outlook for 2021 presents a new challenge as Government stimulus programs are progressively reduced and the ability to travel domestically (and in time internationally) without restriction is regained as border barriers come down and COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out.”

The data comes is derived from in-depth interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year. No data was supplied for Apple TV+, hayu or BritBox.

Number of Australians watching subscription television (SVOD/ Pay TV)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July – September 2019, n= 12,641, July – September 2020, n= 16,541. Base: Australians aged 14+.

9 Responses

  1. These numbers mean nothing without proper explanation.

    Is the 17.3 million who watched a subscription service in a four-week period, a unique number or people or a total even is people viewed more than once in that period?

    What qualifies as a view – one second or longer than that?

    Sorry my day job is data and we need to ensure context is provided.

  2. Streaming really is the future of television. Affordable monthly subscriptions (none of this $100 a month Foxtel package crap from 10 years ago) and regular, good quality content. I for one, would much rather pay a small amount each month to have everything on demand, entire seasons uploaded at once and avoid endless irrelevant ads, and the whims of programmers decisions.

    I remember being very excited when ‘Freeview’ was launched at suddenly having so many extra FTA channels to watch. I then quickly realised they were filled with junk and I could never find anything I wanted to actually watch.

    I’m loving true crime documentaries on Netflix at the moment (there are some truly insane stories about there) but Amazon Prime continues to frustrate me because you have to pay extra for so much of their content.

  3. I wonder why streaming services are doing so well when we have so many FTA channels.
    Mmmmm. Let’s see what’s on Channel 9 tomorrow night at 8:30 – Four Weddings and a Funeral. Over a quarter of a century old and was shown on FTA probably ten times last year.
    Basically, the networks have removed anything worth watching from FTA so we are forced to pay for anything worth watching. Decent movies, white ball international cricket, most AFL/NRL.
    It is a disgrace.

    1. not really…. Sports are currently getting billion dollar deals….. Other countries have no problem with sports on FTA and pay tv( and even the streaming platforms are getting in to live sport)

      USA for example has NFL split over ABC (FTA), CBS (FTA), NBC (FTA), Fox (Pay TV), ESPN (Pay TV), Amazon Prime (Streaming Pay TV), NFL Network (Pay TV). Only in Australia are people still expecting sport to be wholly on FTA, and whinging when its not. FTA can’t stump up the money alone. Get with the 21st century – the is the norm.

      1. National sports like test cricket do need FTA coverage, commercial franchise sports do not.
        There are debatable issues about my above comment though, as the NRL is a franchise commercial sport that courtesy of Nine lifted itself like the AFL into the Australian subconscious, so now both codes attract the lions share of sports viewers on FTA.
        Other sports like Rugby Union, which is well established with over a hundred years of history, struggles to get any foothold on Australian FTA TV, rugby fans will see what Nine offers RA this year.

    1. I’m sure FTA TV is the most studied business environment anywhere, but the main issue for linear TV’s future is technology updates; we have HD channels but still see a lot of SD content, other countries are changing to UHD as streaming makes this format increasingly the standard, today’s large screen TV’s work best with 4K content.
      Sports events like The Olympics could probably lead the way with 4K/8K broadcasting, though how long that will take to happen in Australian broadcasting is anyone’s guess.

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