Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Are our bandwidths getting bigger than our eyes when it comes to gobbling gigabytes? With an increasing number of Australians signing up for over 300GB per month of internet data, Roy Morgan Research looks at whether people with higher (or no) limits are actually doing more with them.

In the year to June 2014, of the 15.7 million Australians (14+) with a home internet connection 9% downloaded TV programs by computer in an average four week period, 7% downloaded feature-length movies, 9% streamed TV and 4% streamed movies.

The proportion of people doing these online activities rises sharply in line with increasing data limits—but only up to a point. Those with an unlimited data allowance are actually less likely to say they’ve downloaded or streamed movies or TV than those with 100GB or more but excluding unlimited.

In fact, downloading TV or movies is only marginally more popular among those with unlimited allowances than among those with only 50-99GB available each month.

% of people by Home Internet Data Limits who download or stream TV or movies:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2013-June 2014, sample = 20,022 Australians 14+ with a home internet connection. *Total includes respondents who don’t know or can’t say their monthly internet data limit.

Of course, this is just the rate of doing these activities at all in a four-week period, and does not take into account how many TV shows or movies have been downloaded or streamed in the month.

But even so, around three quarters of people on an unlimited data allowance haven’t done any of these activities. Which begs the question: why have unlimited?

The answer lies in living arrangements and household sizes. 75% of people with unlimited home internet data either live with kids at home, with parents or in a share house. So although individually these people are less likely to do high-bandwidth activities on the computer, unlimited data is the catch-all solution to covering whatever everyone else in the household might be up to. 

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Since the start of 2013, the proportion of home internet subscribers with an unlimited data allowance has grown by over 50%. The proportion with 300GB or more but not unlimited is up 75%.  

“As well, the proportion of people who don’t know or can’t say their data limit has fallen from almost 1 in 2 in the first quarter of 2013 to 1 in 3 in the latest quarter to June 2014. Internet service providers need to keep a close eye on Australians’ changing internet consumption habits, and identify which types of people and households know exactly how much data they use and need.

“Some people want to pay for only as much as they need, others will go up a plan level just to be safe, and others would rather go straight for unlimited access so they never have to worry about what their kids or housemates might be doing.”  

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332


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