While most Australians would be anecdotally aware that people have been watching less television and more streaming, new research has revealed the actual magnitude of this lifestyle change.
Tech analyst firm Telsyte released its Australian SVOD Market Study on Tuesday, which showed internet entertainment now had 3.7 million Australians legitimately subscribed at the end of June – a 30% increase from last year.
With 46% of streaming subscribers claiming to "rarely" watch free-to-air television and Foxtel losing customers, Telsyte has predicted that the number of Australian streaming users would overtake the number of pay TV customers within the next 12 months.
"Popularity of exclusive and original content, as well as live streaming, is expected to continue to the drive the market to 2021 when subscriptions are expected to exceed 6 million," stated Telsyte.
However, streaming market leader Netflix, which Telsyte estimated exceeded 2 million Australian users in June -- will have its own challengers to deal with.
"Telsyte believes consumers will consider multiple providers, leaving room for services from Stan, Amazon, YouTube Red, Foxtel, Optus Sport, and a long list of others to encroach on Netflix's market leadership."
Stan is currently the second most popular internet entertainment provider with 867,000 subscribers, while other players – such as Amazon Prime – had 769,000 Australians signed up.
With the NBN acceerating its rollout to metropolitan homes, Telsyte senior analyst Alvin Lee said telecommunications companies needed to bundle in streaming entertainment to remain competitive.
Telstra currently has digital rights to the NRL and AFL, while Optus owns the Australian broadcast rights for the English Premier League soccer.
"SVOD bundling provides an important loyalty driver when mobile and broadband prices are under pressure," said Lee.