At the close of 2016, Netflix had broken the threshold of one million users in New Zealand and Lightbox had doubled its numbers since 2015. However, that's not to say New Zealanders are choosing sides, with Roy Morgan Research showing that they're happy to dip into different services.
When Roy Morgan reported its local SVOD research in June 2015, just over one it 10 New Zealanders had access to an SVOD service but in its latest research, one in 10 represents the number of New Zealanders with two or more of the services in their home.
It also shows that while over one million New Zealanders have access to Netflix, it’s Lightbox that’s seeing the fastest growth of all SVOD providers.
By the close of 2016, an estimated 1,066,000 New Zealanders aged 14+ had access to Netflix through a subscription in their homes—a 56 percent increase on the 684,000 at the close of 2015.
During the same period, Lightbox grew from 285,000 to 630,000 users.
Of those Netflix and Lightbox users, 337,000 have both SVOD services, which is an increase from the 108,000 to both at the close of 2015.
New Zealand’s other two SVOD services, Neon and Quickflix, only reached 127,000 New Zealanders between them at the close of 2016.
Altogether, 1.4 million Kiwis aged 14+ (37 percent) have one or more of the four SVOD services in the home, up from 900,000 at the close of 2015. Over one in four subscribers now have two or more of these SVOD services in the home, up from one in six a year earlier.
Of course aiding the growth of Lightbox is Spark's deal that sees its broadband and selected mobile plans customers receive a subscription to the service.
However, industry communications director Norman Morris also suggests the rate of cross-over with Netflix indicates that most of Lightbox's growth came as Netflix subscribers decided it was time for another SVOD service.
By binge-watching programmes and movies, users can quickly chew through the content that appeals to them and suddenly the huge library on offer shrinks and users go looking elsewhere for something to watch.
Because of this, Morris says Lightbox should be targeting the 700,000 Netflix subscribers who could be on the lookout for a second SVOD service this year. He also says Neon and Quickflix should go further still and hone their core target market this year down to the 337,000 Kiwis who have already demonstrated their love of SVOD by subscribing to both Netflix and Lightbox.
But of course, for all SVOD services, the market still has room to grow by reaching totally news SVOD users.
And while the rising subscriptions to SVOD services could have TV broadcasters quivering in their boots, last year, Freeview marketing manager Bel Wang told StopPress it doesn’t view SVODs as competition.
Instead, he called them complementary because they cannot compete with TVs ability to broadcast unfolding events and provide the latest information.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that 1,066,000 refers not to the number of individual Netflix subscribers but rather to the number of people who have access to Netflix through a subscription in their homes.