Online content driving profound changes in Australia’s comm industry

More than three-quarters (77%) of Australian adults use mobile phones to access the Internet, more than on laptops (75%) desktop computers (61%) and tablets (54%), according to a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

That growth is being driven, in large part, by the increasing consumption of online video, a trend that is having a major impact on the communications industry.

“The continuing increase in digital data traffic has been the main cause of change in the communications sector over the past year,” acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean said. “Australians downloaded 2.2 million terabytes of data in the quarter to June 2016 alone—a 114% increase on two years ago.”

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Australians now watch online content (up from 53%), with catch-up and subscription video options, particularly video content downloads, driving data usage—rather than growth in the number of device plans.

The report noted that there’s increasing demand for subscription video on demand services, with 44% of the population regularly using catch-up television services and 32% using SVOD.

The report said SVOD services are “an established part of the Australian media landscape, recording around 2.7 million paid, free or trial subscriptions as at June 2016.”

Free-to-air television viewing continues to decline, albeit slowly. In 2015-16, 84% of Australians watched at least five minutes of FTA TV in an average week, down from 89% in 2010-11.

Still, watching live FTA television still represents the largest share (59%) of the weekly average time spent watching television or video content (excluding pre-recorded DVDs) among Australian adults.

The most ardent users of online video? Younger viewers, who watched 43% of their TV online, about 5.5 hours.

You can see the report here.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn