New data from Roy Morgan shows 7.5 million Australians now watch ‘Broadcast Video on Demand’ (BVOD) services which include ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play.
Viewership of ‘BVOD’ services grew strongly during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 with an increase of around 2.1 million viewers (+39.5%) in 2020 compared to the December quarter 2019. This level of growth was always going to be hard to maintain and over the last year an additional 130,000 viewers streamed BVOD services, an increase of 1.8% on 2020, for a total of over 7.5 million viewers (35.5%).
Notably, all five leading services have grown compared to two years ago pre-pandemic, however ABC iView and SBS On Demand grew strongly during 2020 but lost viewers during 2021. In comparison, 7plus, 9Now and 10Play have all substantially increased their viewership during each of the past two years.
ABC iView continues to be the clear market leader with 4.13 million viewers in an average four weeks, up a large 985,000 (+31.3%) from two years ago, although down 633,000 (-13.3%) on a year ago.
SBS On Demand remains in second place and is now viewed by 2.86 million Australians representing an increase of 217,000 (+8.2%) from two years ago although down 653,000 (-18.6%) from a year ago.
The leader of the three traditional commercial broadcasters is the Seven Network’s 7plus which is now viewed by 2.6 million Australians, an increase of 727,000 (+38.8%) from a year ago.
Close behind are the Nine Entertainment Company’s 9Now which is viewed by 2.38 million Australians, up 318,000 (+15.4%) on a year ago and Network 10’s 10 Play now viewed by 1.7 million Australians, up 358,000 (+26.7%).
This new data comes from Roy Morgan Single Source, Australia’s most comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with over 60,000 Australians each year.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says viewership of ‘Video on Demand’ services offered by Free-to-Air broadcasters such as ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play boomed during 2020 as Australia experienced a nation-wide lockdown, however this growth levelled off in 2021:
“Over 7.5 million Australians are now watching at least one of the Video on Demand services offered by the ABC, SBS and the leading commercial channels 7, 9 & 10 – growth of over 2.2 million (+42%) on 2019. However, there was only a marginal increase in viewership of 130,000 (+1.8%) on a year ago.
“All five services experienced large growth in viewership during 2020 when the entire country was plunged into a nation-wide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic. However, the across-the-board growth hasn’t been sustained in 2021, although the traditional commercial broadcasters have notched up a second straight year of growth.
“The most impressive growth has been for 7Plus which has increased its viewership by 1,259,000 (+93.8%) from two years ago pre-COVID and is up 532,000 (+39.7%) from a year ago to over 2.6 million. 7Plus is now the most watched Video on Demand service from any of the traditional commercial broadcasters.
“The other traditional commercial broadcasters have also experienced rapid growth with viewership of 9Now up 985,000 (+70.5%) from two years ago to 2,383,000 and viewership for 10 Play up 634,000 (+59.5%) from two years ago to 1,698,000.
“However, despite the strong growth for 7Plus, 9Now and 10 Play all three still trail ABC iView and SBS On Demand. ABC iView is the clear market leader with a total viewership of over 4.1 million, an increase of 985,000 (+31.3%) on two years ago, while SBS On Demand has increased its viewership 217,000 (+8.2%) to 2,860,000 – to be just ahead of 7 Plus.
“In contrast to the traditional commercial broadcasters, viewership of ABC iView and SBS On Demand has not maintained the growth seen during the early stages of the pandemic and was down by the end of 2021 compared with a year earlier.
“The trends seen for the free Video on Demand services offered by Australia’s ‘Free-to-Air’ broadcasters are similar to those seen for the leading Subscription TV services. The more well-established brands such as Netflix and Stan saw strong growth during the early stages of the pandemic during 2020 but were unable to continue this growth during 2021.
“However, newer services including Foxtel’s Binge & Kayo Sports, as well as newer entrants such as Disney+, have seen consistently strong growth during each of the last two years. These trends are explored in detail in a recent release on Australia’s Subscription TV market: Foxtel, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are the big improvers for Subscription TV during 2021, but Netflix still the largest.
“Looking forward, and with a widening array of streaming services for consumers to choose from, the competition between paid services and their free counterparts is only going to increase. The ‘boost’ provided to viewership by the unprecedented pandemic is unlikely to be repeated and securing growth going forward will depend more heavily on providing exciting and engaging content for viewers.” Digital TV News