Wednesday, 12 August 2015 05:46

Netflix coexisting with Foxtel Featured

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Estimated number of households Estimated number of households

Netflix refuses to disclose Australian subscriber numbers, but Roy Morgan Research makes a good estimate based on polling of households. It is in 8% of Australian homes.

Netflix has hit 8% of Australian homes reaching 1.89 million people aged 14 and over in July, according to the latest monthly data from Roy Morgan Research. Over one third of Australian households now have some form of pay or subscription TV, up by almost 30% since the start of 2015.

At the start of 2015, the idea of paying for TV content was practically synonymous with Foxtel. In January, 95% of the 2.4 million homes with a pay or subscription TV market had Foxtel, and just 5% used only another service such as Fetch or Presto.

Enter Netflix, which has grown to 737,000 household subscribers in July. Netflix is expanding the category by luring new customers to paid or subscription TV—now in almost 3.1 million homes. Stan and Presto have also made gains in the number of households subscribing. (Roy Morgan does not mention struggling Quickflix).

The numbers mean that while Foxtel’s overall share has fallen dramatically, to 76%, the size of its customer base is almost unchanged, at 2,346,000 homes. It has a smaller share of a much larger – and fast growing – pie. The Roy Morgan ‘Single Source’ sample was 4031 households in January and 5056 in July.

In July, 7.3% of Foxtel’s homes (171,000) were also subscribing to Netflix—a rate not much below the national Netflix take-up of 8.0% of households. The consistent number of Foxtel homes suggests that many of its customers are, for now at least, trialling Netflix as an add-on to their main pay TV provider. Conversely, it also means that the great majority of Netflix subscribers also subscribe to Foxtel.

Roy Morgan Research’s Tim Martin said: “Our month-by-month research is already giving some early indications of the newly competitive pay TV marketplace. For many years prior to the arrival of Netflix, total uptake of pay or subscription television had remained steadily in the region of 25-30% of households, unable to break through to a wider audience. Clearly, there was plenty of space for the market to grow.

“In just four months, Netflix has expanded the total market up to over a third of all homes. So far, it appears Foxtel hasn’t been damaged by the arrival of Netflix. It may turn out to be that the two are not direct competitors after all – Foxtel subscribers will view Netflix as an add-on provider, and non-subscribers were never going to get Foxtel anyway.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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