Monday, 13 August 2018 11:01

Netflix NZ subscribers closing in on 2 million mark

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Netflix now has nearly two million New Zealanders as subscribers to its subscription video on demand services, with slightly faster growth than its Australian counterpart, according to a newly published report.

In its latest report, Roy Morgan Research says Netflix New Zealand reported two million subscribers in the June 2018 quarter – a 35% increase on the number of subscriptions a year earlier.

And in Australia, as previously reported by Roy Morgan, Netflix subscriptions in the June quarter rose by 30% compared to the 35% lift in New Zealand for the quarter – with Australian Netflix subscriptions now totalling over 9.8 million.

According to Roy Morgan, now over three million New Zealanders have access to some form of Pay TV/Subscription TV, up 13.9% on a year ago, and the growth in Pay TV/subscription TV is being driven by the likes of Netflix along with a suite of rival streaming services including Lightbox, Sky TV’s Neon and Amazon Prime Video.

netflix nz

And the report reveals that viewership of the combined Sky TV/Neon in  New Zealand is growing slower than some of its rivals up 1.7%  to over 1.6 million viewers although Sky TV’s SVOD service Neon is growing significantly faster than its parent.

Viewership of Neon is up a “stunning 190.3%  to 295,000", Roy Morgan observes.

Lightbox is the second most popular SVOD service with 830,000 users (up 42.9% on a year ago) ahead of Vodafone TV up 19.9% to 295,000 and the rebranded YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red), now with over 100,000 users, up 79.9% on a year ago.

The biggest percentage increase was for Amazon Prime Video coming off a low base, but up 180.5% to 118,000 users.

As Roy Morgan notes, Internet retailer Amazon only launched its Amazon Prime Video in New Zealand in December 2017.

Michele Levine, chief executive, Roy Morgan, said SVOD was growing rapidly in popularity in New Zealand, with leading services growing faster than across the Tasman in Australia.

“Over three million New Zealanders now use Pay TV/Subscription TV services – up 13.9 per cent, or over 360,000 viewers, in a year.

“As in Australia the leading SVOD providers have experienced strong growth over the last year with Netflix now approaching two million viewers. In the June 2018 quarter Netflix had 1,912,000 viewers spread across around three-quarters of a million New Zealand households giving Netflix a market penetration of almost 49% among New Zealanders aged 14+.

“Although the growth in Netflix viewers clocked in at an impressive 35.9% over the last year smaller rival services grew at even faster rates. Main rival Lightbox grew at 42.9%, and the newly rebranded YouTube Premium grew at 79.9% while Sky TV’s SVOD service Neon grew at an exceptional 190.3% and the newly launched Amazon Prime Video grew at 180.5%,” Levine says.

But Levine says it’s important to note that the market penetration of these smaller SVOD services is less than 10% of the New Zealand adult population and “these impressive growth rates are off small bases – under 50,000 viewers in the case of Amazon Prime Video”.

“In a changing media landscape the impressive performance of SVOD shows there are avenues to growth for incumbent media businesses challenged by new entrants into the market. Sky TV’s fast growing Neon SVOD service is a prime example of an existing media company adapting to the changing consumer habits of New Zealanders.”

Graphic: courtesy Roy Morgan

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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