Australian households spend $4,500 a year on entertainment, with streaming and gaming taking the biggest share, report finds | Australian media
Australians are spending more than ever on entertainment, internet access and media, with streaming services such as Netflix and games taking the biggest slice of the $45.6 billion entertainment pie.
Perhaps due to lockdown habits, spending increased by 6.23% in 2021 and by the end of the year annual household spending will have increased by $510 per year since 2019, according to Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Over 75% of households paid for a streaming service in 2021, which is expected to reach over 80% by the end of 2022.
Households spend a total of $4,500 per year on Internet access, subscription TV, games, social games, movies, print media and newspaper subscriptions, podcasts, books, magazines, music and live events.
Professor of digital communication and culture at the University of Sydney, Terry Flew, said the amount we spend on entertainment is often hidden because we pay monthly and don’t consider the annual cost.
“A lot of these services are an automatic monthly deduction, which people don’t consider as much as they would if they had to make a one-time physical payment,” Professor Flew told Guardian Australia.
“It’s the genius of the model. Paying for entertainment has become the norm for the majority of people, although there is a caveat to this – are we going to be able to continue to afford to pay for everything?
Despite a tradition of not paying for TV under the free-to-air model, Australians have embraced the subscription TV model and continue to add services as they become available, it said. -he declares. And increased access to digital entertainment such as games and social games has just increased the amount of discretionary income we are willing to spend on entertainment.
While the first lockdowns triggered a drop in spending with the closure of cinemas and live events, the second wave of Covid in 2021 saw consumers turn to entertainment and media to help alleviate boredom during prolonged lockdowns.
Although it still reaches 12.8 million people in Australia, Netflix faces challenges. The streaming service has announced international plans to launch a cheaper service – giving subscribers the option to pay less in return for viewing ads – after reporting the first loss of subscribers in a decade.
The average household pays for 2.3 subscription TV services, spending $40 a month on them in 2021, rising to $55 when all forms of entertainment subscriptions are included, PwC said.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) cited the same figure in a recent report, saying people are spending $55 a month on entertainment subscriptions as we shift away from free-to-air streaming.
Flew said streaming services face another challenge in the form of impending legislation to force them to spend at least 20% of their local revenue on Australian content, including dramas, documentaries and programs for children – as a parliamentary report recommended last year.
PwC Australia director and editor Dan Robins said $4,500 sounds like a lot, but it covers more than just entertainment.
“There’s also utility spending in terms of internet access,” Robins said. “Most households spend over $100 a month, which is well over $1,000. And then when you then add in Netflix’s highest price, which is now $22.99 per month, it kind of adds up. Then there are products like books, then there are people who buy games and also spend money on games.
The report says Australians now have 6.5 subscriptions out of a possible 115 available for video on demand, audio, news and lifestyle content, games and other entertainment sources.
According to Optus research cited in the outlook, the number of subscriptions per household is expected to increase to 10 in the next five to seven years.
In podcasting, the comedy genre overtook true crime and short stories to become the most popular of 2021, signaling a growing demand for light-hearted content.
Print newspapers continue to decline, but digital subscriptions and digital advertising are increasing.
In the news media sector, print circulation revenue will drop 3.7% by 2026 to $582 million and print advertising revenue will drop 6.0% to $518 million, while that digital advertising revenue is expected to increase 2.7% to $458 million and digital subscriptions will increase. 8.2% to $613 million.