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In the archive
Subscription Television

Subscriber numbers, total and by operator, 1995–2011

As at June 2011, the three main subscription TV operators, FOXTEL, Optus TV and AUSTAR, had approximately 2.4 million subscribers, a penetration of about 29 per cent of all Australian households.1 According to OzTAM data published by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), 7 million Australians (34 per cent) had access to subscription TV as at 31 March 2011.2

After announcing a takeover bid on 11 July 2011, Foxtel successfully completed the merger with AUSTAR on 24 May 2012.

 

Graph: Subscription TV subscriber numbers by operator, 1995-2011. Following table provides the data.

 

  FOXTEL3 Optus Television3 AUSTAR Australis Media4 East Coast Television5 Total
Dec. 1995 2,000 1,000 n.a. 62,000 na. 65,000
Dec. 1996 130,000 150,000 110,000 100,000 10,000 500,000
Dec. 1997 270,000 175,000 200,000 90,000 12,000 747,000
Dec. 1998 410,000 200,000 290,000 900,000
Dec. 1999 570,000 220,000 370,000 1,160,000
Dec. 2000 703,000 220,000 421,000 1,344,000
June 2001 725,000 250,000 426,000 1,401,000
Dec. 2001 775,000 250,000 432,000 1,457,000
June 2002 798,000 250,000 417,000 1,465,000
Dec. 2002 809,000 241,000 402,739 1,452,739
June 2003 836,000 222,000 407,270 1,465,270
Dec. 2003 862,394 210,606 427,296 1,500,296
June 2004 904,000 201,460 459,819 1,565,279
Dec. 2004 985,000 179,000 493,252 1,657,252
June 2005 1,023,000 157,000 514,450 1,694,450
June 2006 1,129,000 142,000 570,878 1,841,878
June 2007 1,292,000 151,000 639,128 2,082,128
June 2008 1,540,000 695,073 2,235,073
June 2009 1,630,000 728,719 2,358,719
June 2010 1,632,000 747,148 2,379,148
June 2011 1,652,000 764,250 2,416,250

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from data published on the AUSTAR website since 2004, on the FOXTEL website since 2008, in the PBL annual report 2006 and 2007, and on the News Corp website in 2004 and 2005 in the News Corp quarterly earnings releases. Before 2004, from Digital Broadcast Australia (incorporating Australian Pay TV News).

Notes:
n.a. Not available.
1. Screen Australia estimate based on population data from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).
2. See the ASTRA website
3. At the end of 2002, following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) decision regarding content sharing, Optus became a repackager of FOXTEL and scaled back its ambitions as a subscription TV operator. Instead, it uses subscription TV as an element in its telephony bundling strategy. In June 2008, FOXTEL reported a combined figure for direct FOXTEL sales and wholesale Optus Television sales.
4. Australis Media went into liquidation in May 1998.
5. AUSTAR owners (then United International Holdings) bought out East Coast Television in August 1998.

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