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More husbands than wives call the shots on Pay TV, and only 1 in 2 Aussie couples decide together

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January to December 2016, sample n = 2,940 heterosexual married/de facto Australians with Subscription/Pay TV in the home.

First comes love… then comes marriage… then comes deciding whether to get Subscription or Pay TV (and which provider to get). Only half of couples come to a mutual decision about their pay television, Roy Morgan Research shows—and although films, news and docos are a shared interest, sports and lifestyle programming can lead to holey matrimony. 

Half of Australia’s married or de facto couples have at least one subscription or pay TV service in their home. In 50 percent of these homes, the decisions about whether, when and which provider were made together.

The rest of the time, either hubby or the missus took control. In 30 percent of cases, the man decided; in 20 percent, the woman. For the sake of simplicity, this new study doesn’t include same-sex couples.

Who decides on Subscription/Pay TV services?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January to December 2016, sample n = 2,940 heterosexual married/de facto Australians with Subscription/Pay TV in the home.

Regardless of who made the decision to sign up, Films are the number one content of interest to both husbands and wives with Subscription or Pay TV in the home. Overall 60 percent say they are ‘very’ or ‘quite’ interested in watching new release or older Films—with interest a little higher among the women (62 percent) than the men (57 percent). 

News & Current Affairs and Documentaries come in equal second, each of interest to 52 percent of couples. The level of interest is fairly even between the sexes, with women slightly more likely to be into watching News & Current Affairs (55 percent), and men more inclined to Documentaries (53 percent).  Similarly, Science & Nature series won’t engender too much disagreement: 42 percent of men and 38 percent of women are interested in watching.  

But then there are the two categories where the sexes may well battle to control the remote. 56 percent of husbands want to watch Sport (compared with just 30 percent of their partners), while 52 percent of wives are into Lifestyle programming (compared with 34 percent of their partners).

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As Roy Morgan showed on International Women’s Day, 52 percent of women now consider themselves the household’s main income earner, up from 39 percent a decade ago – even though almost three in four men still say they are. Clearly, there are many two-income households in which both earners regard their own contribution as central to the whole operation (or at least equally important).

 “This changing dynamic has consequences for many businesses that sell household-level products. For home entertainment providers like Foxtel and Netflix, it’s vital to their marketing efforts to know exactly who in the home decides to purchase (or cancel) the subscription—and the subsequent viewership habits and preferences among the different household members.   

“Roy Morgan’s research into household decision-making dynamics also covers products such as phone lines and internet, electricity and gas, giving telcos and utilities as well as entertainment providers insight into who their target audiences really are.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%