2015 Australia - Broadcasting - Digital TV, Pay TV

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Last updated: 15 Apr 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 102

Lead Analyst: Paul Budde

Contributing Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Publication Overview

This report provides an extensive overview of Australia’s FTA and pay TV broadcasting market, including subscriber numbers and penetration rates as well as forecasts for subscription TV uptake based on anticipated market trend over coming years. It also reviews the major commercial and public broadcasters, as well as affiliated regional players, and community and indigenous broadcasters. It includes a range of statistics related to digital TV sales and take-up, as also penetration rates in metro and regional areas. Developments in digital radio are assessed, including listener statistics, device sales and regulatory measures.

VOD, IPTV and Mobile TV are covered in a separate report:- Australia - Video Streaming - VOD, IPTV, Mobile TV

Researcher:- Paul Budde, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- April 2015 (16th Edition)

Executive Summary

Broadcasting sector adjusts to competition from OTT video services

This report provides statistics and analyses on Australia’s broadcasting sector, including recent developments affecting digital TV services and pay TV providers. The report assesses overall market dynamics, and the key operating performance of the principal players. It also covers developments in digital radio services and the likely trends which will develop into 2015 and further ahead as the broadcasting sector adjusts to the introduction of OTT services from providers including Presto TV, Stan and Netflix. The sector continues to be affected by changing consumer use of services, and the wider adoption of tablets, smartphones and PCs to view programming. This consumer shift is affecting broadcasters’ advertising revenue, their chief source of funding.

Free-to-Air TV now all-digital

The switch to digital broadcasting from analogue has meant that there is now a significantly larger number of FTA channels available. This has dispersed viewing preferences among consumers, with the result that TV programming is more fragmented. Although there are more channels available, the number of viewing hours has remained relatively stable for a number of years, and as a result individual channels, and particularly specific shows, have seen declining viewer numbers. The launch of subscription video services will further erode linear TV viewing, as subscribers choose instead to watch programs at a time of their choosing. The shift away from linear TV has seen the penetration of TV in households fall to about 88% by early 2015.

Further changes to the broadcasting sector may be expected if the government pushes through reforms to media laws. This could reshape the ownership of some regional broadcasters by overturning limitations on broadcasters’ population reach and rules which prevent media companies from operating in more than two platforms (printed media, FTA TV and radio) in any one market.

Competition for viewers sees falling prices for SVoD services

Competition from OTT providers, which offer basic packages at about $10 per month, have obliged established operators such as FOXTEL to reduce pricing in a bid to compete for viewers. High pricing for packages had previously helped to retard subscriber growth, but with the advent of cheaper access to content, and with a greater choice of provider, the pay TV market is on the cusp of sustained growth in coming years. However, though the number of subscribers should increase steadily, competitive pricing will ensure that revenue growth for providers and broadcasters will not be reflected proportionately.

Given the increased choices available from a variety of players, the number of subscribers willing to pay the price demanded for high-end packages, which include a large number of channels unwatched by many viewers, will dwindle. If business models adapt to customer needs, the greater take-up of low-end packages will see a slow increase in overall pay TV and SVoD penetration rates.

The market for digital radio in limited to the five mainland state capitals of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, though trial broadcasts services are available in Canberra and Darwin. Service availability in the rest of regional and remote Australia continues to be negotiated with the Federal Government. Within these capital cities consumer take-up of digital radio has been strong in recent years, and the number of regular listeners is expected to reach 3.8 million by the end of 2015.

Key developments:

  • Advertising revenue for FTA broadcasters falls into FY2015;
  • TV viewing hours stable but shifts to catch-up streaming services;
  • More than 125,000 digital radios in vehicles;
  • DAB+ listening audience broaches three million;
  • Community radio stations gain increased digital radio funding;
  • Smart TV penetration increasing;
  • FOXTEL launches triple play including phone and broadband on Telstra’s copper network;
  • FOXTEL releases new iQ3 set-top box;
  • Presto TV signs content deal with 20th Century Fox;

Companies mentioned in this report:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Seven West, Nine Entertainment, TEN, Free TV, Southern Cross Austereo, Australian Radio Network (ARN), DMG, Macquarie Radio Network, ABC, SBS, Chemist Warehouse, Coles, Community Broadcasting; Prime Media, WIN, Freeview, FOXTEL, AUSTAR, Optus, News Corporation, Telstra,  Optus, Quickflix, FetchTV, Presto TV, Stan, NBN, Indigenous Broadcasting, Imparja, Community Broadcasters, TransACT, SelecTV, TV Plus.

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