Aussies are streaming more content than ever before. Here’s what it means for marketers

Matthew Evans, Elizabeth Verow / August 2020

The way Aussies consume video content has dramatically changed over the last 10 years. In 2010, you may have still visited the local video store to rent a movie you wanted to watch (and you might’ve been slapped with a late fee if you forgot to return it on time). Over five years we've seen more changes, with some Aussies cutting the cord, opting for free or paid Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) services.

Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the streaming boom. We saw Aussies’ behaviour change and adapt to life at home during lockdown, watching more content on more devices than ever before. And Aussies are saying these viewing trends are likely to continue post-lockdown as behaviour becomes habit.

To dive deeper into Aussies’ increased SVOD usage, we gathered research from studies conducted before and during the global pandemic. Learn how Aussies’ habits have changed — and how COVID-19 and its aftermath will continue to change them.

From programmed to personal primetimes

In the last decade, we’ve increasingly shifted from a world where video content was programmed and scheduled to one where primetime is personal. You no longer have to park yourself on the couch at a designated time to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show. With streaming, you can now watch whatever you want, whenever you want on your preferred device.

When we partnered with Ipsos and The Lab for a study in December 2019, we found that 60% of Aussies had access to one or more SVOD services.1 And the more streaming subscriptions Aussies have, the less free-to-air (FTA) TV they watch: While over one in four heavy TV viewers (>17 hours per week) had access to one or more SVOD subscriptions, the figure jumps to three in four for light- (<8 hours per week) and non-TV viewers.2

Average number of hours spent watching FTA TV per week

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Aussies’ desire to watch their chosen content at their convenience is one of the top reasons they’re watching less FTA TV than one year ago.3 It’s also why 75% of YouTube views are outside of the traditional primetime hours of 6 to 9 p.m.4 By watching videos on their commutes, on their lunch breaks, or in bed, Aussies are creating their own highly engaged, personal primetimes across different screens, content types, and times of the day.

Lockdown increases streaming interest

While the global lockdown meant most Aussies were no longer watching videos on their commutes, their interest in streaming content hasn’t wavered. According to a study we conducted with Nature and The Lab, overall media consumption dramatically increased during April and May, as well as the use of SVOD services.5 What’s more, 72% of Aussies now have access to one or more SVOD services — 2.6 million more than the number of Aussies streaming prior to COVID-19.6

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In addition to subscribing to more SVOD services, Aussies are watching more YouTube: Over 7 million Aussies watched YouTube content on their TV screens in March, and watch time for YouTube viewed on TV screens grew more than 65% year-over-year.7 What’s more, watch time trends around learning on YouTube prove Aussies are using this time as an opportunity to upskill, learn, and grow.

What the streaming boom means for marketers

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how and when Aussies consume content, impacting the effectiveness of each media channel. While we expect consumer and viewer habits to continue to shift as we adjust to new routines and lifestyles, we believe streaming is here to stay. For example, 21% of Aussies who have signed up for a new SVOD subscription as a result of COVID-19 (either through paid subscriptions or free trials) intend to start or continue to pay for them in the future.8

Australia’s streaming boom means marketers should seriously consider where they allocate their media budgets to reach audiences moving forward. In an age when marketers need to make the most of their media spend, it’s more important than ever to reach audiences where they’re spending their time.

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