Is Netflix About To Put Aussie Rivals To The Sword?

Is Netflix About To Put Aussie Rivals To The Sword?

It’s only been active in the Australian market for two weeks but new research claims Netflix is set to triumph in the local video streaming war.

John Bastick
Posted by John Bastick

Research by Australian video internet firm Authentic Entertainment has found one-in-five Aussies either have or intend to subscribe to the US-based video streamer.

The research also found there is a sizeable appetite in Australia for video-on-demand services and they should gain market share sooner rather than later.

That’s despite initial complaints from Aussie customers of slow bandwidths and the numbers of people signing-up being puffed-up by a number of free trials on offer. Optus is currently offering its customers a six-month free subscription to Netflix.

A report by video quality analytics firm Conviva – whose clients include Disney, Sky and Bloomberg – has found a quarter of people will switch off their video streaming service after four minutes of viewing if the internet connection speed is slow or keeps buffering.

However, the research is contrary to other experts who’ve said the major players – Netflix, Stan, Presto and Quixflix – could struggle in the small and crowded local market.

Last month B&T quoted Channel 4 UK’s director of audience technologies and insight, Gill Whitehead, as saying Netflix would probably snare a similar audience share in Australia as it does in the UK – about three per cent.

“These (video streaming sites) are having an impact but it’s much less than it is in the States where 30 per cent of the streaming traffic is coming from Netflix. In the UK it’s more like three per cent and they’ve been in the UK market now for three years,” Whitehead said on a recent Australian visit.

While CEO of McCann Worldgroup, Ben Lilley, believed that the video streamers’ offerings were very limited and consumers would be forced to subscribe to multiple channels for it to be worthwhile.

However, the Authentic research predicated a far rosier future for the video streamers. It found that Aussies already are accustomed to watching TV online – be it YouTube clips, catch-up TV series or long-form video – and by 2017 85 per cent of Australians would be in a position to access video streaming services particularly as more smart TVs are connected to the internet.

Authentic found Gen Ys are increasingly less loyal to the commercial networks as previous generations. while even those aged over 55 – 54 per cent – now watch video online.

But arguably the biggest thing to come from the Authentic research found that 50 per cent of Australians would happily watch ads on (the presently) ad-free streaming services if it meant the services were cheaper or free altogether.

Quoted in the News Limited press today, Authentic Entertainment’s head of research, Beth van Koesveld, said this “probably means a new focus for advertisers”.

“Consumers seek out premium content (and) advertisers should too.”