It comes as no surprise that 80 per cent of Aussies over 14 watch sport on the tele, but as free-to-air networks and Foxtel spend billions to shore up sports broadcasting television rights, can (and should) Netflix and YouTube join the field?
Roy Morgan Research general manager of media Tim Martin thinks both Netflix and YouTube’s models are at risk of losing subscribers once they’ve powered through their binge-watching sessions, and other avenues like sport and current affairs are the key to further success.
“The SVOD on-demand distribution model clearly caters to binge-watching and casual browsing. But perhaps the risk is that subscribers can power through available content they want and then be left with no reason to continue,” he said.
Roy Morgan stats show Netflix subscribers are 25 per cent more likely than the average Australian to watch Super Rugby, and also more likely to watch FIFA World Cup soccer (+18 per cent) English Premier League soccer (+16 per cent) AFL pre-season games (+15 per cent) and the Winter Olympics (+10 per cent).
However, Netflix subscribers are, compared with the norm, also more keen on some niche sports that come with fewer than a million potential TV viewers overall (and so perhaps present obtainable broadcasting rights), including Ice hockey, with over 76 per cent of users more likely to watch, Triathlons, Surfing, Australian NBL basketball, and Iron Man contests.
Visitors to YouTube have an above-average interest in soccer, being around 20 per cent more likely than average to watch the English Premier League, FIFA World Cup or A-League.
And as with among Netflix subscribers, some niche sports also have an increased fan-base among YouTube’s audience, including Basketball, Baseball, Snow sports, Ice hockey and Surfing.
“Generally, Netflix subscribers and YouTube viewers are less interested than other Australians in golf, swimming, horse and greyhound racing, motor racing, athletics, and cricket. But other sports do appeal to their current audiences, and could well be a drawcard,” Martin said.
“In a fragmenting media landscape, niche content, including sport, can find a place with distributors who don’t need to reach mass audiences across limited channels at certain times of day.
“For YouTube, 10,000 unique Australian viewers of 1000 videos is a bigger combined audience than for the Olympics. For Netflix, it’s about offering content so each unique subscriber can find $10 a month worth of entertainment.
“Aside from sport, one other type of content that Netflix in particular could consider delivering is some form of news. Our on-going research over the first six months since Netflix launched shows that its subscribers are around a third more likely than average to be interested in watching international news and current affairs on subscription or pay TV.
“Whether through a once-a-week upload of a topical news and current affairs show (such as HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), or broadcast rights to seasons of sports, such content could keep audiences signed up month in, month out.”