Household Consumption across Formats


In late 2020, Venture Insights conducted a video consumer survey of 1,003 Australian households. This paper provides an overview of the results. A television set remains the most common device for watching video, but a substantial majority of households also watch video on PCs, tablets and smartphones. Internet-connected TVs are now common. Only 24% of households currently have a 4K or better TV, but 44% of households anticipate buying a 4K TV set over the next three years. More than half of households do not subscribe to a pay-TV service. Of those which do, two-thirds have Foxtel. Netflix remains dominant in the Australian subscription video market, while its main competitors are each subscribed to by about one-fifth of households. Most survey respondents expect their video consumption to remain stable across all formats over the next year.


Venture Insights conducted a video consumer survey of Australian households in late November/early December 2020, in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology. The survey was conducted nationally for 1,003 respondents, with a representative survey sample across demographic and regional groupings. Those respondents who watch free-to-air TV, pay TV, catch-up TV or Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services qualified to participate in this survey.

This paper reports on a single, recent survey. For a more detailed analysis of trends over time, see our latest Video Entertainment Market Outlook (Venture Insights, 2021).

This survey was about consumer viewing of video and TV services, and the kinds of services we asked about in the survey are:

  • “Free-to-air television”: this is traditional television programming (e.g., ABC or Channel Nine) delivered through an aerial or antenna on your TV or roof. The TV broadcaster decides when each program is broadcast, in a linear sequence.

  • “Pay TV”: this is multi-channel television that you pay for monthly (e.g., Foxtel). The service provider decides when each program is broadcast, in a linear sequence.

  • “Catch-up TV”: this includes any free-to-air programming delivered over the Internet by the free-to-air broadcasters (e.g., ABC iView or 7Plus). It includes both:

    • Live streaming of free-to-air programming, so you can watch the free-to-air broadcast over the Internet at the same time as everyone else, and

    • Delayed streaming of free-to-air programming, so you can view their programs at a later time of your choosing

  • “Subscription video on demand” (SVOD): This is TV you pay for monthly (e.g., Netflix or Stan), delivered over the Internet. You decide when to view each program.

  • “Video services” does not include physical media like videotapes or DVDs.

Note that, with a sample size of 1,003 respondents, sample proportions in the full sample can be determined with 95% confidence to within approximately 3 percentage points (under the Normal assumptions for an unbiassed sample). Sampling errors for subgroups, such as age groups, may be larger.

Television Viewing

We asked our respondents which kinds of television they watched.

  • Free-to-air television (FTA TV) was watched by 88% of respondents. There was a measurable difference across age groups, with 81% in the 18-24 group watching FTA TV, while 98% of the 65+ group did.

  • Pay TV was watched by 41% of respondents, mainly Fetch TV or Foxtel (whether they paid for it or not). The least likely to watch pay TV were the 55-64 age group, where only 29% were pay TV watchers. In the 18-44 group, watching was higher at around 50%.

  • SVOD services were watched by 47% of viewers, and BVOD (Broadcaster Video on Demand, FTA-provided on-demand TV) was watched by 51%. SVOD viewing was highest for the 25-34 age group at 67%, and lowest for the 65+ group at only 20%.

  • BVOD was more evenly distributed, peaking with the 35-44 age group at 60% and lowest for the 65+ age group at 39%. The contrast with SVOD appears to reflect lower willingness to pay for TV amongst old demographics, which is also evident in pay TV watching.

For all these results, while sampling errors may be larger than 3 percentage points for each age group, the results are sufficiently variable that it is likely that differences between age groups are significant.

Video Devices in Households

We asked the survey respondents what and how many devices they use to watch videos in their households. Only 1% of households had no television. The average number of sets was 1.83 sets per household. About half (47%) the respondents have one TV set and one-third (32%) have two TV sets at home. In addition:

  • 12% of the respondents do not use a PC to watch video, while 44% have one PC that is used to watch videos in their households. A further 44% have more than one PC at home.

  • 35% of the respondents do not use a Tablet to watch videos, while 40% have one Tablet that is used to watch videos in their households; 25% have more than one Tablet they use for video at home.

  • 12% of the respondents do not use a Smartphone to watch videos, while 32% have only one Smartphone that is used to watch videos in their households; 56% have more than one Smartphone they use for video at home.


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