If there was any indication that subscription video on demand (SVOD) is a genuine threat to Foxtel’s linear pay TV model, this is it.
According to recently released data by Roy Morgan Research, more Australians now have SVOD than the linear pay TV option provided by Foxtel – 5.6 million people (28 per cent) versus 5.3 million (27 per cent).
Roy Morgan said the bulk of SVOD’s growth is attributable to Netflix, but other services – Stan, Presto, Quickflix, the recently launched YouTube Red, and Foxtel’s own SVOD option, Foxtel Play— can now be found in the homes of around 1.4 million Australians.
“Although, to be fair, over 60 per cent of these subscribers also have Netflix,” Roy Morgan noted.
The data, which consists of six-month samples rolling quarterly between March 2013 and August 2016, shows that despite the meteoric rise of SVOD in Australia, the number of people with Foxtel’s linear pay TV in the home has also risen over the period, by an average of nearly 100,000 per quarter.
The reach of IPTV, which includes both Fetch and Foxtel through T-Box, has also increased over the past year despite all the turbulence in the market – 629,000 Aussies now have IPTV in the home, which is up around 100,000 since the beginning of the SVOD boom.
Foxtel chief Peter Tonagh recently announced new packaging and pricing changes for Foxtel Play to combat the rise of SVOD, and noted that the company’s long-term strength will be in offering live sport and linear programming at the 2016 ASTRA Conference in Sydney.
However, Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said that as more Aussies choose to access content on demand, Foxtel will need to find new creative ways to straddle both markets “which appeal to quite different people, with different budgets, tastes and habits”.