The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much about our everyday lives with some of these changes arguably for the good. Aside from the new click and collect craze and online shopping improvements we are also consuming our media and entertainment differently. As a result we are spending more on entertainment subscription services than ever before according to a study by Telsyte, Australia’s leading emerging technology analyst firm.

In a study performed in July 2021 with a representative sample of 1,148 respondents aged 16 years and older Telsyte were able to get an insight into our entertainment habits in the past year. They also conducted interviews with execs from SVOD, Pay TV and video game service providers, content providers and accessed their financial reports to bring the study together.

According to the study we had five million more subscriptions this year, up from 37 million in June 2020 with all subscription video on demand (SVOD), streaming music and games related subscriptions all experiencing strong year-on-year growth (16%, 13% and 13% respectively). Of course, we are spending more time at home these days (unfortunately) and this increase in subscription services has been driven by the demand for entertainment while stuck at home.

Over three quarters (78%) of Australian households had a subscription to at least one entertainment subscription at the end of June 2021 with subscribing households now averaging 4.3 entertainment service subscriptions! The pandemic though has been limiting the SVOD subscription budget though with the average monthly budget dropping by 9% over the past year to $30 in 2021.

Not all subscription services were winners though with Foxtel’s Pay TV segment once again declining, partly due to the increasing adoption of SVOD. The entire Pay TV market declined by 2% in June 2021 with Foxtel’s Pay TV’s base declining by 4 per cent during the same period. The winner here in this area were of course SVOD services with more than half of users now considering SVOD an “essential service”.

Netflix was still our most popular SVOD with six million subscribers and Amazon Prime Video continuing their push into the Aussie landscape now with 2.9 million subscribers. Other notable services include Disney+ (2.6 million), Stan (2.4 million) and Kayo Sports (1.1 million — which may explain some of Foxtel’s decline in subscriptions). 

The study also found that Australians also took up a total of seven million games-related subscriptions at the end of June 2021, a growth of 13% from a year ago. Aussie gamers are also spending on average $30 per month on their gaming subscriptions with those hardcore gamers spending more than three hours per day gaming having budgets significantly higher. These subscriptions are expected to double within the next four years with 1 in 4 (25%) gamers are interested in cloud gaming, especially amongst hardcore gamers (46%).

Let’s not forget about our music subscriptions either with Australia’s three most popular streaming music service providers, Spotify, Google (incl. YouTube Music and YouTube Premium) and Apple Music now boasting more than half of their subscriptions paid. Podcasts included in the subscription has also become important when choosing your music subscription service with one in four (27%) of those with a music subscription saying it is important to have a good variety of celebrity and popular podcasters.

It is often a bit of a surprise to find out just how much you spend on subscriptions, but this study will make you realise that you are not the only one with such an addiction. Subscriptions are now how we consume our entertainment and is the remuneration method of choice for most of these businesses, so we expect to see these percentages to increase even more in the coming years.