Australian consumer access to digital content

In partnership with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), this project assesses the relative availability of media content to Australian consumers, with a focus on digital download and streaming services. We use custom online data collection and analysis tools to sample the most popular content across film and television, music, and computer games, and evaluate its availability across three criteria: pricing, timeliness, and diversity of delivery channel options. We use this data to generate an ongoing comparison between the Australian and US media markets. The project’s major output will be a consumer-focussed website that visualises and explains the data on content availability, helping Australian consumers to make informed choices among the existing options and to better understand the differences in access compared to other jurisdictions. Click here to access the ACCAN final project report.


We found that Australians either cannot access a large portion of content that is available to American consumers, or they have to pay more for the same level of access. Key findings:

  • In film and TV, Australians pay the same as American consumers, but have limited access to titles. In our sample, only about 65 percent of movie titles and 75 percent of TV titles available in the US could be accessed by Australian consumers.
  • For film and TV streaming, Australian services fare very poorly compared to US markets. Nearly two thirds of films available to stream in the US are not available to stream in Australia, and more than half of the television seasons available to stream in the US are not available in Australia.
  • In TV and film, the Australian market also consists of a much smaller number of distributors, both for streaming and retail. This means less competition and more limited choices available to Australians.
  • Australian distributors focus on providing the most popular titles. Of the Top 50 most popular films available in the US, Australians could access about 90% of our sample.
  • For games and music, Australians have much the same access to titles, but pay around 25 percent more for them.
  • The only case where Australian consumers are not at a disadvantage is music streaming, where consumers have access to approximately the same number of titles for slightly cheaper subscription fees.

This report is the first snapshot of a longer term project to monitor changes in digital media markets over time. Future analysis will be able to provide additional detail about other concerns of Australians – including, for example, the lag between release dates for content in Australia compared to the US.

The project is funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Australia’s peak body for consumer representation in communications. The operation of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network is made possible by funding provided by the Commonwealth of Australia under section 593 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. This funding is recovered from charges on telecommunications carriers.

Additional materials

Project team


Project funding

  • ACCAN Grants Scheme (2016-2017)