Technology

Netflix bandwagon rolls on in Australia as local TV network viewership falls

Martin Kovacs /

US content juggernaut Netflix is showing few signs of slowing down, with new Roy Morgan Research data showing its growth in Australia over the last 18 month far exceeds any of its local free-to-air television competitors.

Given Netflix is still a comparatively new entrant into the Australian market, rapid growth may be expected. However, the Roy Morgan numbers reveal the extent to which the streaming service has changed Australians’ viewing habits since its arrival more than two years ago.

The Roy Morgan figures reveal an estimated 7.56 million Australians aged 14 years and older (37.7%) had Netflix in the three months to June 2017, up from 4.45 million (22.6%) in the 2016 March quarter.

The growth in its potential audience stems from gains in household subscriptions this year, with 2.98 million Australian homes (31.8%) now subscribed, up from 1.71 million (18.6%) in the 2016 March quarter.

Meanwhile, Roy Morgan data shows that in comparison, viewership over an average seven day-period declined across the Seven, Nine and Ten networks over the same timeframe. Seven viewership was down 2.3% to 64.4%, Nine was down 4.1% to 60.1% and Ten down 1.7% to 50.4%.

Among the government broadcasters, the ABC was down 3.3% to 56.3%, while SBS viewership rose 0.7% to 43.2%.

“While Netflix household subscriptions have increased strongly, its Australian free-to-air competitors are all facing declining audiences — despite all having several channels to broadcast on,” said Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine.

“Viewership of networks 7, 9 and 10, as well as the main public broadcaster the ABC, all fell over the past 18 months, and it was only the smaller SBS which had a slight increase in viewership.

“Roy Morgan has been measuring Netflix in Australia since its beginning just over two years ago, and its exceptional growth over that period shows no signs of slowing down. However, the recent purchase of Network Ten by giant US broadcaster CBS does provide a new competitive dynamic for Australian broadcasters going forward.”

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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