New ambitious players are entering the music and video streaming world

New ambitious players are entering the music and video streaming world

Words by Christie Eliezer

iHeartRadio and Disney are starting to eat into the respective audio and video pies.

Music streaming is forecast to generate $308.1 million by the end of 2019 in Australia and be worth $763 million in 2023. User penetration, currently 24.9 per cent, should hit 26 per cent by 2023. With video streaming, subscriptions grew by 11.8 per cent in the past year to 14 million. AMPD Research puts Netflix as holding 42 per cent of local subscription video on demand revenue, with Stan at 17 per cent and Foxtel Now at 15 per cent.

AMPD managing director Anthony Dobson said, “Australian consumers have embraced subscription streaming services at a pace that is unmatched in any other major developed economy we have examined. We are seeing impressive adoption rates across demographics, with 52 per cent of the under 45s paying for video streaming services while take-up among those over 45 is around 48 per cent. That underscores how paying for streaming video is becoming mainstream behaviour in Australia.”

Changes are expected in both the streaming sectors.

Australian media company Here, There and Everywhere (HT&E) has signalled working on a strategy for iHeartRadio to topple Spotify and Apple Music. Its Australian Radio Network has rights to iHeartRadio until 2036.

HT&E CEO Ciaran Davis told Mumbrella, “Audio is in a renaissance period,” adding that podcasting and streaming was actually complementing, rather than cannibalising, radio. “The extension of iHeartRadio was a key thing for us, because we believe that’s our competitive advantage. We believe that we’re the only audio company in Australia who can deliver that piece of integrated content, where we can push and pull listeners based on their choices and interests into radio, into podcasting, into streaming, into artists’ radio.”

The plan is to build up iHeartRadio’s Australian registered users (currently 1.34 million after launching in 2013) and in 65 devices. It is working with up to 300 developers at its US partner to make the platform make more appealing. “There’s new developments in the pipeline for iHeart that are coming down the road in the next 12 months,” Davis told Mumbrella.

According to Telsyte’s 2019 Australian Entertainment Subscription Study, video streaming in Australia is dominated by Netflix (4.9 million subscribers) and Stan (1.7 million).

One in four Australians are interested in Disney+, according to Telsyte research, when it comes on November 19. Disney+ will cost $8.99 a month or $99.99 a year. Stan is $10 a month, Netflix starts at $9.99, Amazon Prime starts at $6.99 per month and Foxtel Now base packages from $25 per month.

Disney is offering Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 21st Century Fox (and Hula down the line) and TV content, including The Simpsons, which previously hasn’t streamed on Australian platforms.

In other upcoming changes, Apple and WarnerMedia are preparing to launch their own streaming services. Stan signed a deal with film studio Paramount. Amazon commissioned its first Australian series. Seven West Media is keen to get back in the game after Presto failed in 2016. The CBS and Viacom upcoming merger could see their respective streaming platforms, All Access and Viacom’s Pluto land here. Aussie streamers are going to have a lot of choice, needless to say.