SYDNEY: Streaming site Netflix has seen its subscriber audience in Australia rise to levels comparable to rival Foxtel but the amount of time consumers spend with the two platforms, is very different according to new research.

Latest figures from Roy Morgan Research indicated a post-winter surge in Netflix subscriptions so that another three quarters of a million have been added since May: by November, 5,776,000 Australians over the age of 14 (29% of the population) had Netflix in the home, through 2,223,000 household subscriptions, B&T reported.

But while these numbers are rising, viewing time is not necessarily following suit: some 42% of Netflix subscribers streamed less than three hours of its content during an average week, a figure that includes 16% who didn't watch anything at all.

Just over a third (35%) spent between three and seven hours watching, while 14% managed between eight and 14 hours; a dedicated 9% entered binge territory, watching 15 or more hours of content.

In comparison, a majority of Foxtel subscribers watched at least eight hours a week, including over a third who watched for 15 hours or more. Only around one in 20 people with Foxtel hadn't watched it at all in the last seven days.

"The full impact of Netflix as a competitor for viewership, and entertainment dollars, remains to be felt," said Michelle Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research.

"Over the past few months, almost half of Netflix's total growth has come from homes of empty nesters aged 45 to 64," she noted, adding: "Notably, this is the most common household type in Australia – and their Netflix adoption still has plenty of room to grow."

And that, she suggested, was likely to put additional pressure on pay TV services to justify their premium cost to subscribers.

"One good area to investigate is the big difference in how much time their subscribers spend watching compared with SVOD, and that its sports content appeals to men - who Roy Morgan's research shows are much more likely to be the decision-maker when it comes to the home's pay TV services."

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff