Streaming TV is now bigger than Foxtel

Angus Kidman 9 September 2016


We'd rather pay for on-demand video than pay TV.

It's official: there are now more Australians paying for streaming video services like Netflix, Stan and Presto than that cough up for Foxtel's pay TV offerings.

According to research firm Roy Morgan, there are 5,595,000 people with some form of paid-for streaming video service, compared to 5,309,000 who have conventional pay TV. Another 629,000 people have an IPTV service such as Fetch or Foxtel via the Telstra T-Box. (Those figures cover the six months to August 2016.)

Remember that this isn't an either/or scenario. Many Australians will pay for Foxtel because they want sport and/or a legal way to view Game of Thrones, and also pay for Netflix so they can binge-view its original series, and maybe throw in a Stan subscription as well for random Friends catch-ups. Foxtel itself continues to promote its Presto and Play services, the latter of which is due for a major revamp in December. Since Netflix launched in Australia, more than 100,000 new customers have signed up for Foxtel each quarter.

Netflix is definitely the giant in the streaming space. The Roy Morgan numbers suggest that only 1.4 million customers are subscribing to one of the non-Netflix streaming services, a list that includes not only Stan, Presto and Foxtel Play but also hayu, YouTube Red and what's left of Quickflix. Again, at around $10 a month it's not like you have to choose just one option; 60% of those subscribers also have a Netflix account.

Frankly, anyone who complains about having nothing to watch these days really isn't trying hard enough. Even if your broadband goes down, there are 15 or more digital TV channels to choose from. I think back to my rural youth, when we had the choice of the ABC and one commercial station, and wonder how it was I watched so much TV back then.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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