by Don Groves, Creative Content Australia, 11/4/2019
Australians spent a record $1.7 billion on subscribing to Netflix, Stan and other streaming services and on buying and renting films and TV series online last year.
While there was a 17% drop in spending on DVDs and Blu-rays, the physical home entertainment is still among the healthiest in the world, worth $520 million last year.
So total home entertainment sales in Australia reached a record $2.2 billion in 2018, according to the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) 2018 Yearbook
That proves that Australians “love watching quality content now more than ever and are happy to pay for it,” AHEDA CEO Simon Bush said.
The popularity of the streaming services has helped to reduce the rate of video piracy. In 2014, 29% of Australians aged 18-64 were “actively” engaged in pirating videos, according to Creative Content Australia, which represents movie and TV distributors and some video subscription services.
In 2018, that was down to 18%, thanks to the uptake of streaming services and the Australian government’s decision to block the domains of piracy-related websites such as piratebay.com
“The availability of streaming services is absolutely playing its role, but the 758 domains that have been blocked by Australian ISPs has absolutely played its role, too,” Bush said.
Research by the Australia New Zealand Screen Association quoted in the Yearbook showed the blocks caused traffic to blocked piracy domains to drop by 70% to 90%. Factoring in new domains used by these online locations that were not yet blocked, the decline was 53%. The key metric, however, is the 25% reduction in piracy volume overall.
The AHEDA report showed there was a 46% spike in spending on streaming services to nearly $1.4 billion and an 11.6% rise in transactional digital sales to $291 million. That helped offset a 17% drop in DVD and Blu-ray revenues to $520 million, the lowest level since 2002.
In the physical market there was an 11.5% decline in spending on both new release movies ($132 million) and catalogue movies ($160 million).
GfK data showed a decline of 17% in volume in the disc market with nearly 30 million discs sold. Factoring in Kmart’s exit from the market however, the like-for-like fall among retailers was 13.7%.
TV series revenues fell by 26% to $163 million as consumers switched to subscription or free VoD platforms. Hit hardest were box sets.
Heavy users of SVoD services are more likely to purchase or rent both digitally and physically, according to the report, which cited UK research showing that 97% of all digital transactions are made by consumers with access to SVoD.
Although subscription to just one SVoD service tends to reduce transactional consumption, consumers who take more than one have a far higher propensity to transact.