Traditional television might not be extinct just yet, but viewing habits are rapidly changing as time-poor consumers migrate to on-demand streaming services.
- Subscription revenue for streaming services jumped 31pc in the last year
- Consumers are more willing to pay for multiple streaming services
- As Netflix and Stan revenue continues to surge, Foxtel’s is expected to decline
Netflix and Stan are on track to easily outstrip free-to-air television and subscriptions to News Corporation’s Foxtel, according to a report from advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Increasingly popular streaming services are tipped to increase their subscription revenue by 13.7 per cent between 2019 and 2023.
Foxtel, meanwhile, is expected to experience a 2.9 per cent drop in subscriber revenue during that period as the market continues to fragment.
In the last year, streaming services have grown by a rapid 31 per cent, with consumers prepared to pay for multiple platforms, often opting in and out.
These new viewing habits are also changing social norms and conversations, PwC partner Justin Papps (editor of the firm’s annual Media and Entertainment Outlook) told The World Today.
“I think the last Netflix show you watched is almost currency in a social environment.
“At a dinner party, conversations are now around what you last binged on or the program you found and I think that is the exciting part of this is people are consuming content they might not have ordinarily found otherwise.”
Re-inventing traditional media
However, despite the continuing demise of free-to-air TV and traditional newspapers, the race to adapt is now more important than survival, Mr Papps added.
“I definitely wouldn’t say they are on their way to extinction,” he said.
“What we’ve seen in both free-to-air and newspapers is those businesses re-inventing themselves.
“While there might still be some appointment viewing for sport or a flagship program, free-to-air TV is creating other ways for consumers to get that content when and how they want it, which is much more customer centric than their old model.”
The report also found more “cord cutting” as consumers move away from traditional platforms, even though viewers are increasingly time-poor.
“Rather than sitting down on a couch and watching TV, people might watch it on the bus or on the train as they’re going to work,” Mr Papps said.
“They might watch it as a second screen while somebody is watching something else on the main TV.
“The one thing that hasn’t changed is the time people have available when they are not sleeping.
“The CEO of Netflix has said their greatest competition is sleep.
“The battle for attention is playing out across all different media and people have only got so much discretionary time available to consume content which is where the battle is going to be won.”
The report also highlights the growth of downloaded audio including podcasts, which is forecast to jump 17 per cent, compared with just 1.7 per cent growth for terrestrial radio.
While not specifically mentioned in the report, Mr Papps also expressed concern for media freedom after last week’s Australian Federal Police raids on a News Corporation journalist and the Sydney headquarters of the ABC.
“What came through loud and clear in this report is the value people put on professionally generated content from an independent news media.
“That’s really important for consumers to know they are getting a fair and open and independent view on matters that are really important to them.”
The report also forecast China will add the greatest media revenue over the next five years, at $83.9 billion, followed by India, Japan and the United Kingdom.