More Australians are now watching online video subscription services than traditional broadcast free-to-air television, according to annual research published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Traditional television providers are among those seeing success with online video subscription services.

In June 2021, 58% of adults surveyed had watched an online video subscription service in the previous week, compared to 54% that had watched live or recorded free-to-air television. 43% had watched free videos on an online platform like YouTube. 37% had watched a broadcaster video on demand service like ABC iview, 7Plus, or 9Now.

Australian viewing 2017-2021

That is an indication of reach, although it does not reflect the relative amount of viewing. 67% of those aged 45 or over were still watching traditional television on a weekly basis.

The market is served by an increasing number of online video subscription providers, including Netflix, Amazon, Foxtel Now, Binge, Kayo, Stan, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Paramount+.

Revenue from online video subscription services rose to nearly AU$2.5 billion in 2021, according to estimates from GlobalData.

Free to air broadcast revenue had been steadily falling, but recovered to AU$4.4 billion in 2020-21, excluding their online video services.

Among those that had watched a catch-up service in the previous 7 days, 23% of adults surveyed had used ABC iview, 16% had used SBS on Demand, 12% had used 7Plus, 12% 9Now, and 7% 10 Play.

Broadcasters have entered the online video subscription market with some success. Stan from Nine Network was the second largest online video subscription provider by revenue in 2021 and second only to Netflix in terms of reach. Network Ten now has the Paramount+ service from its parent company. Seven West Media had a joint venture with Foxtel in the form of Presto, which shut down in January 2017, although the company has expressed interest in partnering with another service if the opportunity arises.

Foxtel has seen its residential pay television subscriber numbers fall from 2.1 million in 2019 to 1.7 million in 2021. However, it has grown subscriber numbers for its standalone online video services, Foxtel Now, Binge, Kayo, and Flash, which have boosted its total subscriber base to just under 3.9 million.

Communications and media in Australia: Trends and developments in viewing and listening 2020-21 is published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and is available from its web site.