Watching TV online becomes mainstream | ACMA

Watching TV online becomes mainstream

MR 75-2012 – 10 October

Watching TV online has become mainstream, with 5.2 million Australians looking at professionally produced video online in the last six months, according to a new research report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA).

The report, Online video content services in Australia, concludes ‘catch-up’ TV (such as the ABC’s iview) is the dominant use of online video. Recent episodes of television shows are the most popular content.

The report also finds a high level of willingness to pay for online video. Half of those intending to access an online video service in the next six months—2.8 million Australians—indicated they were prepared to pay for such access.

The research is part of an annual ACMA series comprising the ACMA communications report and three complementary reports. The online video report is the first of three in the complementary series and details the state of the Australian professional video market from both the consumer and industry perspective. It provides unique insights into how rapidly evolving audience preferences are driving fundamental changes in the way professional video content is being consumed and delivered in Australia.

Highlights include:

  1. 43 per cent of Australia’s online adult population (5.2 million) accessed professionally produced online video content (OVC) services in the six months to June 2012.

  2. Full-length television programs (61 per cent of OVC users) and films (32 per cent) were the most frequently reported content accessed. Adoption of these services has been encouraged by factors such as the increasing amount of program content made available online, faster internet speeds and more affordable data costs.

  3. Australia’s free-to-air broadcasters are leading the charge to online viewing, providing the opportunity for audiences to catch-up on recently-aired television programs at the click of a mouse, mostly free of additional access charges. During June 2012, an estimated 11 per cent of online adults used a catch-up TV service.

  4. ABC iview has been an obvious innovator in this area, being the first to offer smartphone-compatible content and most recently making some internationally released shows available to online users in Australia well before their scheduled programming time.

  5. The viewing of high-quality professional internet television services, also known as internet protocol television (or IPTV), is less popular with only five per cent of internet-connected households taking-up IPTV.

  6. Take-up of IPTV may be deterred by low awareness, interest in these services, and lack of time or cost. At June 2012, 38 per cent of internet users in Australia were aware of IPTV services, compared to 51 per cent awareness of catch-up TV.

The other complementary reports in this series to be released later this year are:

  1. Australia’s progress in the digital economy: Participation, trust and confidence

  2. Smartphones and tablets: Take-up and use in Australia.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch on (02) 9334 7817, 0411 504 687 or An infographic is available.

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Last updated: 05 May 2017