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Online and On Demand 2017: trends in Australian online viewing habits

Online viewing is now a new normal. In the years since the original 2014 Online and On Demand Report, Australians have embraced a range of online services. Some trends are widely shared, while other behaviours and attitudes differ across users, platforms and content types.

Screen Australia’s 2014 Online and On Demand Report showed what people were watching online, how they were doing it, and what drove those choices, at a time when online viewing of professionally produced content was growing in popularity.

Since the report’s release, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Play and other services have launched in Australia. The entry of large scale Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) providers and the expansion of other on demand platforms, coupled with continuing advances in internet access and technology such as smart TVs and mobile phones, has taken VOD mainstream.

Compiled by Screen Australia from research conducted by Nielsen, Online and On Demand 2017 is presented in the form of slides, enabling audiences to view snapshots of an ever-evolving environment.


  • Convenience and price point still drive online viewing: video on demand is valued for offering greater choice and flexibility around content, viewing times, cost and fewer advertisements.
  • Discovery and choice influenced by a variety of sources: friends and family are still the most influential when it comes to viewing choices, with further factors influenced by age.
  • Most VOD viewing is in-home, but out-of-home is on the rise: 1 in 4 are watching VOD out of home at least once a month.
  • VOD users are watching screen content via social media: the majority of VOD users active on social media are watching screen content via these services. YouTube, Facebook and younger audiences dominate but there is potential for growth across all demographics.
  • Broadcaster catch-up, other AVOD and SVOD dominate VOD use: YouTube is still the most used service, Netflix has become a major player, and broadcaster catch-up services are close behind.
  • VOD users still watch content via existing platforms: despite disruption from SVOD, overall use of broadcast TV remains fairly stable, while other existing platforms such as broadcaster catch-up and other AVOD (e.g. YouTube) have seen an increase.
  • Piracy is down but not yet out: use of pirated and illegal services has fallen. Those that continue to pirate tend to be younger.
  • SVOD is changing attitudes and viewing behaviors: around half of all SVOD users watch less free-to-air TV, are downloading fewer programs from TVOD and feel they download/stream via illegal sites less often than they used to.
  • Solo viewing of online content is increasing: VOD users are watching more screen content alone than they used to.
  • VOD users want new and diverse Australian content: most VOD users agree that Australian dramas and documentaries influence conversations around social and cultural issues, and help us to debate and understand our national identity.
  • Parents value Australian programs made for children: most feel it’s important that children can access Australian dramas and documentaries made especially for them, and feel these programs give children a different view of the world.
  • 400 titles named as all-time Australian favourites: Australian features and TV drama still resonate, with The Castle, Mad Max, Home and Away, Crocodile Dundee and Offspring topping the list of all-time favourite Australian productions.

The report explores the above findings and much more, providing insights for content creators, the wider screen industry, and anyone interested in the modern consumption of screen stories.

Download the full report