Nine-Fairfax Merger Set To Topple Seven As Australia’s Most Watched Broadcaster

Nine-Fairfax Merger Set To Topple Seven As Australia’s Most Watched Broadcaster

A new Roy Morgan study has revealed that Nine’s pending merger with Fairfax Media will create Australia’s most-watched broadcaster.

Combining the extensive broadcasting assets of the Nine with the valuable print media assets of Fairfax Media is a new combination in Australian media which is facing significant disruption with the array of choice available from digital competitors such as Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and others.

The combined Nine Entertainment-Fairfax Media will also be a stronger competitor to traditional broadcast rivals including the Seven Network and the CBS owned Network Ten as Australians are increasingly supplementing their consumption of Broadcast TV with the increasing use of ‘Catch Up’ TV services available via websites and apps.

The Seven Network is Australia’s most watched major broadcaster across different platforms with nearly 12.5 million Australians watching it in an average week. This compares to just under 11.9 million watching the Nine Network and almost 11.3 million who watch the ABC.

The Nine Entertainment-Fairfax Media merger would also bring Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service Stan under the control of the new entity. Stan was launched as a 50:50 joint venture between Nine and Fairfax three years ago.

Stan is watched by over 2 million Australians in an average four weeks and the inclusion of a fully-owned Stan as part of the Nine Network will boost the combined viewership of Nine Entertainment platforms to over 12.2 million – within reach of market leader the Seven Network.

Australians watching FTA TV Networks/Catch Up TV Services – 12 months to June 2018

7729-c1Catch Up TV viewership led by ABC iView, SBS On Demand and 9Now

Viewership of ‘Catch Up’ TV is still only a fraction of traditional TV viewership but these services continue to grow in popularity as their usage becomes more widespread in the community.

ABC iView is the most popular Catch Up TV service for any of the five major broadcasters. It is watched by over 2.1 million Australians in an average week – a viewing audience more than 50 per cent higher than any of the four other broadcasters Catch Up TV services. The viewing audience of ABC iView is equivalent to 20 per cent of ABC’s broadcast TV audience which is clearly the highest rate of the five major broadcasters.

SBS On Demand is the most popular Catch Up TV service among the four leading commercial broadcasters watched by over 1.4 million Australians in an average week. It is closely followed by 9Now watched by over 1.2 million Australians.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan’s CEO Michele Levine said: “The merger between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media will continue the evolution of Australia’s media landscape combining one of Australia’s leading broadcasters with a leading print media company.

“The merger also brings SVOD service Stan under the same roof after launching as a 50:50 joint venture between Nine and Fairfax over three years ago. A recent Roy Morgan analysis of Pay TV/SVOD services showed viewership of Stan now exceeds 2 million Australians in an average month performing strongly alongside key rivals including market leader Netflix, and Pay TV providers such as Foxtel and Fetch.

“The combination of the Nine Network and Stan is now watched by over 12.2 million Australians in an average week across all platforms including traditional TV as well as Catch Up. This audience reach would put the combined entity within striking distance of the Seven Network’s viewership of nearly 12.5 million Australians.

“Although some have expressed concerns about the potential lessening of competition this merger may bring, the proliferation of competing Pay TV and SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium, Fetch and others, suggests competition in the viewing space is intensifying rather than reducing,” Levine said.

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