Home Entertainment Streaming VOD, whether free or subscription, is a hit

Streaming VOD, whether free or subscription, is a hit

Good God, VOD is a hit in the way General Zod never was, with “subscribers” to free and paid services up 30%, and nearly half of those subscribers claiming to “rarely watch Free to Air TV”.

With Free to Air TV available to stream as easily as Netflix, Foxtel, and Stan, is it any wonder that people are choosing to watch the shows they want to watch, when they want to watch them?

Even my mother now knows she can catch up on her favourite shows via iView, SBS on Demand, TenPlay, 9Now and Plus7 anytime she wants, relegating the PVR to RUVR or “rarely used video recorder.”

Of course, that’s just a silly but truthful acronym I just made up, unlike the far more serious bods at Telsyte, for whom serious analysis is their very tasty (informationally-speaking) bread and butter.

What Telyste has said is that all types of VOD series “delivered over the Internet continue to feed Australians’ appetite for entertainment with subscriptions reaching 3.7 million (incl. paid + non-paid) at the end of June 2017, a year-on-year increase of 30%".

The information (and plenty more) is found in Telsyte’s Australian SVOD Market Study 2017, which as always is available to relevant parties at relevant prices.

The study also found almost half (49%) of Australian households “currently subscribe to either Pay TV or SVOD services, with 11% subscribing to both, an increase from 38% in 2015".

As you’d expect, that’s not all.

Now, that’s not to say there are free steak knives – you’ll have to stream one of the shopping channels for an offer like that.

What I mean is that Telsyte predicts “paid SVOD subscriptions are on track to overtake traditional pay TV subscribers by June 2018, as consumers increasingly consume content on-demand, and across multiple devices".

This on-demand multi-device multi-screen watching seems to be a trend, not just with older people, but with children too, as ACMA reported only yesterday in its own, free report on the TV watching habits of Australia’s youth, which iTWire reported on here.

When we turn our attention back to Telsyte’s terrific tome of televisual tales, we’re told that the “popularity of exclusive and original content, as well as live streaming, is expected to continue to the drive the market to 2021 when subscriptions are expected to exceed six million (again, incl. paid + non-paid)".

Furthermore, Telsyte says it “believes consumers will consider multiple providers, leaving room for services from Stan, Amazon, YouTube Red, Foxtel, Optus Sport, and a long list of others to encroach on Netflix’s market leadership".

Want more? Of course you do.

You get it in the form of Telsyte’s estimatation that “Netflix exceeded two million subscriptions at the end of June 2017, with Stan in second with 867,000, and others making up 769,000".

Telsyte’s assiduous research also shows that “SVOD services are putting pressure on Free to Air TV rivals and traditional pay TV, with around a third of pay TV subscribers also having at least one SVOD subscription, and 46% of SVOD subscribers claiming to ‘rarely’ watch FTA TV".

And, for some figures around how much content is consumed, Telsyte research shows that “the average SVOD subscriber watches nearly 26 hours of video content a week across FTA TV, pay TV, SVOD, Online TV on demand (catch up TV & live streaming TV), and other video content sources (incl. non-streaming videos), compared to around 21 hours for the average Australian".

The esteemed Telsyte managing director, Foad Fadaghi, who like the rest of us has probably seen an impressive amount of SVOD TV, said: “SVOD adoption in Australia has started to reach a scale which has strategic significance to media and telecoms companies alike.”

So, is bundling SVOD important for carriers under the much-maligned but nation-building NBN?

Indeed it is so, with Telsyte telling that “the popularity of unlimited data services on the NBN and increases in mobile data caps is fuelling greater SVOD adoption”, and that, “on average, Telsyte results shows SVOD subscribers typically use 61% more mobile data (3G/4G) than those who do not stream SVOD on smartphones".

In addition, and for good measure, “at the end of 2016, the rate of uptake of SVOD by NBN users was 25% higher than non-NBN users”, showing, in my mind at least, the optimism of NBN users that they’ll have fast enough speeds to better enjoy more SVOD.

The last quoted word, however, goes to Telsyte’s senior analyst, Alvin Lee, who states that: “SVOD bundling provides an important loyalty driver when mobile and broadband prices are under pressure.”

For those relevant parties considering paying the relevant prices for Telsyte’s terrific analytical tomes, the company tempts you directly with its “Australian SVOD Market Study 2017” by stating that it is “a comprehensive study".

It provides subscribers with:

  • Market sizing and forecasts of the Australian SVOD services market;
  • Uptake of SVOD services, pay TV and AVOD TV services, including hours spent and demographic analysis;
  • Analysis of market participants and strategies;
  • Services consumption preference including devices, fixed and mobile service; and
  • Insights into the future of subscription video services in Australia.

Furthermore, in preparing this study, Telsyte used:

  • Interviews conducted with executives from service providers, mobile operators, content providers and channel partners;
  • An online survey of a representative sample of Australians 16+ years of age conducted with 1060 respondents in November 2016;
  • Financial reports released by service providers; and
  • On-going monitoring of local and global market and vendor trends.

P.S: Telsyte did not pay me to have fun re-writing its press release, you can rest assured I did that for free, and it was much more fun than watching SVOD TV! (at least, for me).

P.P.S: the TV image below was bodgied up by my dodgy photo editing skills, it is not representative of the vastly higher quality work that Telsyte does on a daily basis.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.