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The new minority – the home phone connected

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 1999 – June 2019. Average annual sample n=53,193.
Base: Australian population aged 14+.

The changing way Australians consume their media is starkly illustrated when looking at long-term trends for the technologies Australians use.

Over the course of the last year the proportion of Australians with access to subscription/pay TV services at home has increased to 66.5%, up 4.9% points from a year ago (61.6% in June 2018), and up a stunning 37.4% points over the last four years since June 2015 (29.1%).

Driving the increase has been the huge take-up of subscription TV or subscription video on demand (SVOD) service Netflix now accessible by around 11.5 million Australians. In total 57.1% of Australians now have access to SVOD services including Netflix as well as rivals such as Stan, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium and others. Only four years ago less than 2% of Australians had SVOD.

The incredibly fast take-up of these new technologies, and the almost ubiquitous usage of mobile phones now used by 95.9% of Australians, has accelerated the decline in the proportion of Australians that have a home phone connected. Now less than half the population have a home phone connected (48.6%), down 9.5% points from a year ago.

In 2001 over 96% of Australians had a home phone connection. This has halved over the last two decades as new technologies including mobile phones, broadband internet and subscription TV have made increasing in-roads into Australian households.

These findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey are derived from in-depth face-to-face personal interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

Long-term trends in Australian use of technology. 1999-2019

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 1999 – June 2019. Average annual sample n=53,193. Base: Australian population aged 14+.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the exceptionally fast take-up of subscription TV over the last few years is attracting a field of competitors keen to grab a piece of the action:

“The stunning growth in subscription TV in Australia is clear by looking at the trends for rival technologies over the longer-term. From almost nothing in 2015 well over half of the population (57.1%) now has access to subscription TV or SVOD (57.1%) in mid-2019.

“This growth has been largely driven by Netflix which is now available to 11.5 million Australians only four years after launching their Australian service early in 2015.

“However, Netflix is being increasingly challenged by ‘cashed-up’ rivals keen to gain a foothold in the growing market and prevent Netflix from gaining any benefits from incumbency and market power.

“Rival subscription TV services including the locally-owned Stan, accessible by nearly 3 million Australians, as well as international competitors such as Amazon Prime Video and YouTube Premium are also growing strongly in Australia and providing an increasing challenge to Netflix.

“The recent ‘tie-up’ between Netflix and long-term Australian Pay TV provider Foxtel presents opportunities for both as well as representing a somewhat defensive move as Apple TV+ and Disney Plus are set to enter the Australian market in the near future.

“Disney Plus is set to launch in Australia in November with a price of only $9 per month setting the price point below both Netflix and Stan and with a yearly cost of only $89 – cheaper than the monthly price of many Foxtel packages.

“The stunning rise in subscription TV in recent years remarkably means that more Australians now have household access to the likes of Netflix, Stan and their rivals than a home phone connection. Not too long ago (early in the 21st Century for example) a home phone connection was regarded as all but ubiquitous
and over 95% of Australians had one at home.

“Contact Roy Morgan to learn more about the penetration of new technologies in Australian homes and lives and how consumers are interacting with and using their latest digital ‘tech’”.

View the State of the Nation 31 - Media Report to find out more about Roy Morgan’s extensive data and profiles on Australians watching TV, reading newspapers and magazines, using the Internet, listening to radio and other forms of media.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%