Netflix ranked second in Australia despite geo-blocking: Pocketbook

The absence of an official Australian launch, along with an active geo-blocking campaign, has not prevented Netflix from becoming the second most popular subscription media platform in the country, according to new research by Pocketbook.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

A new study by Australian personal finance management software company, Pocketbook, has revealed that, prior to its official Australian launch Netflix is already the second most popular paid media platforms in the country — despite geo-blocking local users.

The findings come in the wake of ZDNet's confirmation that popular US-based digital media platform, Netflix, was on track to be launched in Australia in the near future, according to Village Roadshow co-CEO, Graham Burke.

The study, carried out by Pocketbook's marketing head, Andrianes Pinantoan, found that Netflix had already captured a sizable 27 percent of the sampled Australians using media subscription or rental services, despite not being officially available in the country, and actively geo-blocking Australians from its online service.

Pinantoan's research was based on media spending data from a sample size of over 21,000 Australian consumers, but it did not take into account iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, or Xbox purchases.

According to Pocketbook's research, Netflix's 27 percent cut of the Australian media subscription marketplace has tripled in size from its 9.88 percent share at the beginning of 2013.

The research showed that, not only has Netflix's popularity in Australia grown three-fold over the past year, it continues to grow steadily each month, according to Pocketbook's graph, below. It should be noted that the graph is based only on number of users, not the amount of money spent by Australians on media services.

Image: Pocketbook

The research suggests that Netflix's growth in Australia has not come at the expense of Australia's dominant paid player, Foxtel — which remains in the top spot — but rather traditional rentals, along with the local Quickflix.

According to Pinantoan, Netflix is growing in popularity among those Australians who either cannot — or choose not to — pay Foxtel's fees, which can run to over AU$100 per month.

"For those who are comfortable with paying those fees?" said Pinantoan in a post on Pocketbook’s website. "They are happy to keep paying for the convenience Foxtel offers (in that they don't have to go through a VPN service to combat Netflix's current geo-blocking of our great country)."

Pocketbook's research also highlighted the growth of another media subscription platform that has been quietly gaining its own share of the local market: Amazon Prime, which according to Pinantoan, began growing from around September last year, despite also actively blocking Australians.

The study found that, despite not being able to legally subscribe to Netflix services, Australian users hung around for much longer with the service than they did for alternative platforms, such as Quickflix.

Australians who signed up to Netflix in January 2014 stayed, on average, for 110 days, compared to just under 80 days for those who signed up to Foxtel during the same period.

Pocketbook's findings come only a couple of months after Australians proved themselves to be among the most rampant downloaders of digital media in the world, following the release of the first episode of Game of Thrones' fourth season — of which Australian viewers topped sharing of the episode on BitTorrent.

Editorial standards