The future of television -- including television in Australia -- is being shaped right now by a battle for scale and reach between US media and telecommunications giants. It’s a fight for survival in a streamed world. Just how many streaming services can the market bear? Not very many.
Australia loves a duopoly, and with Netflix seizing the early mover advantage, the takeover and counter-takeover bids in the US and UK seem about winning the play-off for the right to go head-to-head with the newcomer. In Australia, Netflix has surged with about 4 million subscribers (about one-third of all households), paying about $200 a year. This is far in front of Stan -- a joint venture between Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment -- which claims just under 1 million subscribers. Following its takeover of the Ten network, the US network CBS has foreshadowed releasing its All Access streaming service too, which sells in the US for about $150 a year. And on a different measure, the ABC’s free platform iView claims about 3 million unique visitors each month.