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16 November, 2015
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Subscription video on demand in Australia 2015

By The Research and Analysis section

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This snapshot takes a close look at subscription video on demand (SVOD) services in Australia, including the take-up, use and satisfaction with these services. It looks at time spent using these services and provides insights into why SVOD services are seen to be attractive, particularly amongst younger adults.

The ACMA surveyed 1,505 Australian adults in May and June 2015 and asked about their use of subscription online video services.

Launch and take up of SVOD services

Subscription video on demand is growing rapidly in Australia, becoming an increasingly popular way to watch video content. SVOD services provide users with unlimited access to a wide range of video on demand content that can be viewed at any time, for a flat monthly fee. SVOD services are distinct from other online video services such as pay-per-view, catch-up television or other professionally-produced online content.

From January to March this year, Australia saw the launch of new SVOD services, including Netflix, Presto TV and Stan, and the take-up since then has been rapid. With the introduction of these services, Australians now have a greater range of video content viewing options.

This snapshot distinguishes between ‘SVOD users’ and ‘recent SVOD users’:

  • ‘SVOD users’—those who had watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015
  • ‘recent SVOD users’—those who watched video content via an online subscription service in the last seven days at June 2015.

Use of SVOD services

The ACMA survey found that an estimated 3.2 million adult Australians (17 per cent) watched video content via SVOD in the six months to June 2015, and 2.2 million (12 per cent) in the last seven days at June 2015.

Launched in March 2015, Netflix accounts for the majority of SVOD services used in Australia. An estimated 2.5 million adult Australians (14 per cent) used Netflix Australia to stream TV shows or movies in the six months to June 2015 (Figure 1).

Amongst SVOD users, 78 per cent used Netflix Australia in the six months to June 2015, and 88 per cent in the past seven days at June 2015.

Figure 1: Use of SVOD services in the six months to June 2015 (percentage)

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Figure 1 (.csv) 

Base: Australians aged 18 and over.
Notes: ‘SVOD—total’ includes Netflix, Presto TV, Quickflix, Stan and other services.
Refers to adult Australians who watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015.
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

SVOD user profile

Those with the following demographic characteristics are more likely to be SVOD users if:

  • they are younger (18–34 years old)
  • work full-time
  • have a degree
  • live in a household with children (of any age)
  • have an income of $100K+ per year
  • own an Apple TV.

For example, 34 per cent of people living in a household with children are SVOD users, compared to 17 per cent of those who live in a household with no children.

Figure 2: Profile of SVOD users (percentage)

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Figure 2 (.csv)

Base: Australians aged 18 and over who: are aged 18–34 and 35+; are in full-time employment or not working; whose highest qualification is a degree and whose highest qualification is primary or secondary education; that live in a household with children (of any age) and a household with no children; who own an Apple TV and who don’t own an Apple TV; whose income is greater than $100k, between $50k and $99k, and less than $50k.
Notes: Refers to adult Australians who watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015.
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

Why are SVOD services becoming so popular?

Streaming services allow a user to watch video content on their own terms—at any time that suits. Almost half of SVOD users (49 per cent) reported this as one of the main benefits of accessing video content online, as compared to watching content on pay TV or free-to-air television. Greater choice of content (44 per cent) and lower cost (21 per cent) were other major benefits reported by SVOD users (Figure 3).

SVOD users are more likely than non-users to recognise these benefits, with only 30 per cent of all adults identifying ‘watching at a time that suits’ as a main benefit of watching video online.

Figure 3: Top three benefits of accessing video content online (percentage)

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Figure 3 (.csv)

Base: Australians aged 18 and over who watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015.
Note: Small number for: ‘Cost’ (n=58). 
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

The use of SVOD services is related to age—older age groups are less likely to watch video content via an online subscription service. One in three (33 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015, compared to 11 per cent of those aged 35 and over (Figure 4).
 
One in four (25 per cent) adults aged 18 to 34 are recent users of SVOD services, accessing them in the seven days to June 2015, compared to eight per cent of those aged 35 and over.
 
Figure 4: Users of SVOD services, by age (percentage)

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Figure 4 (.csv)

Base: Australians aged 18 and over and those who: are aged 18–34 and 35+;
Note: Refers to adult Australians who watched video content via an online subscription service in the six months to June 2015.
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

Younger people—those aged 18 to 34—account for more than half (58 per cent) of SVOD users.

The convenience of being able to watch video content at a time that suits may be particularly important for this seemingly time-poor group—the ACMA survey data shows the majority of people aged 18 to 34 (81 per cent) either study or work [1].

Time spent using SVOD services

As illustrated in Figure 5, recent SVOD users spent an average of eight hours watching video content via an online subscription service in the last seven days to June 2015. Those aged 18 to 34 watched almost double the hours of SVOD content (9.9 hours on average) compared to those aged 35 and over (5.2 hours on average).

Figure 5: Average hours spent watching SVOD, by age

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Figure 5 (.csv)

Base: Australians aged 18 and over who watched video content via an online subscription service in the last seven days to June 2015.
Note: Small numbers for ages: 18–34 (n=98); 35 and over (n=77).
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

Over four in ten (44 per cent) recent SVOD users spent more than five hours watching video content online via a subscription service in the past week.

Figure 6: Time spent watching SVOD—proportion of SVOD users, last seven days to June 2015 (percentage)

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Figure 6 (.csv)

Base: Australians aged 18 and over who watched video content via an online subscription service in the last seven days to June 2015.
Note: Figures do not add up to a 100 per cent due to rounding.
Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

Devices used for SVOD

The television is the most popular screen used for viewing video content via an online subscription service—59 per cent of recent users viewed SVOD content on a television set in the last seven days to June 2015. The next most popular device was a desktop or laptop computer, used by 41 per cent of SVOD viewers, followed by a tablet (21 per cent) and a mobile phone (12 per cent) [2]. 

Satisfaction with technical quality

The majority of SVOD users (78 per cent) are satisfied with the technical quality of the online video content that they access. Four in 10 SVOD users (40 per cent) reported to be ‘very satisfied’ and a further 38 per cent ‘somewhat satisfied’.

While satisfaction with the technical quality of online content is high, more than half (55 per cent) of recent SVOD users experienced technical problems associated with viewing online video content in the seven days to June 2015. 

Background to this snapshot

All data used in this report is from the ACMA-commissioned Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) survey of 1,505 Australian adults conducted from 21 May to 9 June 2015. Estimates in this snapshot are based on the following sample sizes:

Table 1: Sample size (Australians aged 18 years and over)

ACMA-commissioned survey

Sample size
June 2015
 

Total sample

1,505

Watched video content via an online subscription service such as Netflix, Stan or Presto TV (SVOD) in the last six months—referred to as ‘SVOD users’ 

250

Watched video content via an online subscription service such as Netflix, Stan or Presto TV (SVOD) in the last seven days—referred to as ‘recent SVOD users’

175

Source: ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.
Where a sub-sample size is less than n=100, this is noted underneath the figure.
Unless otherwise specified, references to Netflix in this snapshot are references to the Australian Netflix service.

ACMA research program

Our research program—researchacma—underpins our work and decisions as an evidence-informed regulator. It contributes to our strategic policy development, regulatory reviews and investigations, and helps us to make media and communications work for all Australians.

This snapshot is part of the ACMA’s research program researchacma, which has five broad areas of interest:

  • market developments
  • media content and culture
  • social and economic participation
  • citizen and consumer safeguards
  • regulatory best practice and development.

This research contributes to the ACMA’s market developments and social and economic participation research themes.

Further information

Take a look at researchacma for ACMA’s research publications and snapshots.

Comments and enquiries about research snapshots should be sent to: research.analysis@acma.gov.au.

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End notes

[1] ACMA-commissioned survey, June 2015.

[2] Total adds to more than 100 per cent as users could report watching SVOD services on multiple devices.

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