Netflix subscribers view less commercial linear TV - Roy Morgan

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 7 February 2017
Netflix originals like The Crown are winning over viewers and industry accolades, including the Golden Globes.

Netflix subscribers watch less commercial TV than others and were watching less prior to subscribing to an SVOD, Roy Morgan Research has found.

Netflix original series The Crown recently scooped the Golden Globe for best drama and the quality of its shows are having an impact on the amount of time viewers devote to commercial linear TV.

Commercial network chiefs would argue that despite this trend, the total number of hours of TV content being viewed across all platforms has also increased and there is plenty of space in the market for SVODs and linear TV to coexist.

Among Netflix subscribers, 18% watch more than three hours of commercial television (classified as a 'heavy' amount), 20% watch a two to three hours (medium) and 42% watch less than two hours, with the rest not watching regular commercial TV at all.

For non-subscribers, 27% are heavy commercial TV watchers, 21% are medium and 37% are light.

Netflix commercial TV watching chart - Roy Morgan

An estimated 5.86 million Australians aged 14+ have access to an SVOD service through 2,268,000 household subscriptions, which recently reported record revenue and subscription numbers. Rival Stan has also experienced a growth spurt and is believed to have about 650,000 active subscriptions.

“Free-to-air networks, industry bodies and advertisers must now pay closer attention to SVOD subscription rates and usage habits among their heaviest viewers,” Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine says.

“One core issue will be how heavy commercial TV viewers use Netflix, and other SVOD services such as Stan, if and when they do subscribe. Will it be only for a weekly movie, a series binge-viewed over a weekend, or become the first port of call every time the TV is turned on?

Levine says now is the time or networks and advertisers to focus on audience engagement as a metric.

“Multiple broadcast channels, live streaming and catch-up platforms should give the commercial TV networks the ability to offer highly engaging programming to all different segments, keeping them tuned in and upholding free-to-air as the go-to at-home entertainment option,” she adds.

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