Subscription TV soars during Australian lockdown

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
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Subscription TV viewers soar during Aussie lockdown – Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Disney+ & Amazon Prime all up significantly

New data from Roy Morgan reveals Australians were adding new subscription TV services at an astonishing rate during the lockdown period which started in late March.

Now almost 15.74 million Australians have access to a subscription TV service, up 878,000 (+5.9%) in only three months.

All the major subscription TV services have been big winners out of the lockdown with big increases in viewers for Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Disney+ and Amazon Prime in the three months to May 2020 compared to the prior three month period to February 2020 (pre COVID-19 lockdown).

Number of Australians with subscription television in the household

Number of Australians with subscription television in the household - Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Total with Subscription/Pay TV services - February 2020, May 2020

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, December 2019 – February 2020, n= 12,082, March – May 2020, n= 9,620. Base: Australians aged 14+.

Netflix remains by far the nation’s most watched subscription television service, with 13.28 million viewers, an increase of over 1 million in only three months (+8.8%). By way of comparison, in the year to February 2020 Netflix increased their viewer numbers by 942,000.

Foxtel has also experienced its best growth for many years with over 5.5 million viewers, up 658,000 (+13.6%) since the pre-COVID-19 period. Many had suggested the lack of live sport during the lockdown period would prove damaging to Foxtel, however the wide range of content available on the traditional platform has been a big draw during a period that Australians have been stuck at home.

Also growing strongly during lockdown have been third-placed Stan which grew 729,000 (+19.7%) to 4,434,000 viewers, newcomer Disney+ which was up 689,000 (+38.2%) and Amazon Prime Video now with 2,166,000 viewers – an increase of 678,000 (+45.5%) since February.

This new data comes from Roy Morgan Single Source, Australia’s most comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the lockdown in recent months has been challenging for many businesses but subscription TV has been a big winner with Australians stuck at home:

“Subscription TV services have made large gains during lockdown with big increases in viewers for Netflix (+1,078,000 viewers), Foxtel (+658,000), Stan (+729,000), Disney+ (+689,000) and Amazon Prime Video (+678,000) in the three months to May 2020 compared with the three months pre-lockdown.

“The rate of growth is astonishing with Netflix gaining more viewers in this three month period than they gained over the previous twelve months and Foxtel experiencing its strongest growth in many years despite the lack of live sporting content during this period.

“The strong growth for Stan, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video shows that Australians are increasingly willing to try out multiple services to find new and interesting content. Incredibly, over 95% of Stan viewers also have access to Netflix and well over 90% of Disney viewers also have access to Netflix.

“After a bumper few months the challenge now becomes retaining these new customers in the period ahead as Australia gradually re-opens – although Victorians still have some time to wait on that front. Foxtel launched Binge, its competitively priced alternative to Netflix and Stan, at the end of May and this new offering will be a key part of Foxtel’s strategy to attract new viewers in the months and years ahead.”