Australians spent $8 billion on streaming and gaming in 2021: PwC

Australians spent more than $8 billion on streaming and gaming last year as long-term COVID-19 restrictions in states like NSW and Victoria caused people to indulge in entertainment at home.

New data released today in PwC’s 2022 Australian Media and Entertainment Outlook says households had an average of about 2.6 television streaming services in 2021 and spent about $40 a month ensuring they had access to programs such as Succession, Bridgerton and Yellowstone. More than 75 percent of households paid for at least one streaming service last year, a figure expected to rise to 80 percent by the end of this year.

Australians spent nearly $4.5 billion on streaming services in 2021.

Australians spent nearly $4.5 billion on streaming services in 2021.Credit:Aimee Spinks/BBCAmerica, Liam Daniel/Netflix, Apple TV+

PwC Australia Director and Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook Editor Dan Robins said people were using the sector to reduce boredom. “As in-person events return, these spending will likely expand alongside subscription, gaming and accessing habits that are likely to stick,” he said.

“It was widely believed that consumers were building up savings and that consumer spending may have fallen as in-person events are still only steadily returning and crowds are returning through late 2021 and into 2022, this is certainly not the case.”

Australians spent a total of $4.4 billion on subscription streaming services last year, compared to $1.1 billion on news media, $1.2 billion on music and $353 million on magazines.

According to research by Roy Morgan, quoted by PwC, the majority of people watched Netflix. Foxtel and its streaming services Binge and Kayo Sports are the second most watched (about 7.1 million citizens). Services such as Amazon Prime, Stan and Disney+ are typically viewed by more than 4 million Australians per month. Nine Entertainment Co owns Stan and The Sydney Morning Herald and The age.

Australians spent $3.6 billion on video games. Most of the money spent on the media and entertainment sector went to internet access – $31.6 billion – which became crucial for people as they worked from home. Expenditure growth contributed to a $510 annual increase in the amount of money an average household spent on entertainment and media ($4500, a 12 percent increase from pre-pandemic times). This brought total consumer spending on media and entertainment to $45.6 billion by 2021.

Subscription and ad-supported platforms have broken rating records over the past two years as people spend more time at home. Australian media companies are lobbying the federal government to introduce regulations that will make it easier for the public to find local streaming apps on smart televisions. The broadcasters believe that this will be the key to growing the industry in the future.

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