Australians love streaming TV shows

Alex Kidman 3 April 2017

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Australians are increasingly adopting internet-based TV services for free to air and subscription TV watching, with up to 8.67 million viewers each month.

The arrival of Netflix in Australia back in 2015 kickstarted the streaming media revolution in Australia, with no signs of abatement. Last week, Ovum released figures that suggest that 7 million Australians will have streaming media subscriptions to services such as Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now by 2022, and this week Freeview, the consortium that represents the free to air broadcasters has released figures that suggest that the combined TV audience across all kinds of streaming services currently hits up to 8.67 million viewers.

Free to air catchup services still dominate, with 5.14 million of those viewers using services such as ABC’s iView and SBS On Demand, with an estimated 3.53 million paid subscription customers. Obviously, there's going to be some cross-correlation with those figures between pure subscription and free to air viewers.

Still, it's a figure that Freeview trumpets as "eclipsing" the paid subscribers, although quite how long its sun will shine is a matter for debate. Analysis from the Sydney Morning Herald based on the Australian Multi-Screen Report for Q4 2016 suggests that outside of some older viewers, Australian free to air habits are in serious decline.

As the report notes, while catch-up services in aggregate may be larger than those of subscription TV, Netflix viewing and subscriber numbers still strongly tilt towards it being the most significant single SVOD player.

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