The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently published their report, Online video content services in Australia, outlining the latest developments in the supply and use of professionally produced online video services. They found that with 6.4 million Australians spending over 15 hours online a week in June 2012, more and more people are turning to the internet for everyday activities – including watching television. Online advertising revenue has increased 30% in the six months to June 2012, and it’s likely to grow even further with the rising number of online video content (OVC) services available in Australia.
There are two major forms of OVC services in Australia at the moment:
- Catch-up television offered by networks allowing viewers to watch recently-aired TV online, generally free of charge
- High-end internet protocol television (IPTV) services offered by internet service providers, offering OVC in return for payment or subscription
As of June 2012, there were 9 IPTV providers in Australia, including ABC iview, ninemsn video, FOXTEL, and Fetch TV. Catch-up services are allowing more and more OVC, including back-catalogues and previously unaired content. ABC iview has been instrumental in the evolution of OVC services in Australia, offering brand-new episodes of programs immediately after their broadcast in the UK.
Despite the overwhelming number of advantages, OVC services have had a surprisingly slow uptake in Australia. Only 5% of internet-connected households are taking advantage of the OVC services on offer. Furthermore, only 75% of Australians are even aware of OVC services.
Usage of these services is much higher in more experienced OVC markets such as France and the US, where despite similar levels of broadband availability to Australia, there is much greater awareness. This is largely due to the massive amounts of OVC available in comparison with Australia, and licensing/copyright restrictions which prohibit Australians from accessing content on US OVC sites such as Hulu and Netflix.
A full copy of the report is available here.