The mysterious world of digital subscriber numbers

Basic Facts

  • The AFL Live application launched in 2012, and shows every game live. From 2013, this service became available to customers on all networks.
  • The NRL Live application launched in 2013 and shows all Foxtel games live, and Nine games at time of broadcast.

For those who wonder about such things, finding out just how many subscribers there are for either the AFL or NRL offerings on mobile and digital is near impossible. Hell even getting media outlets to report the same figures appears to be a damn impossibility, sometimes its hard just getting ONE outlet to agree with itself.

In September 2012, the Financial Review reported that the AFL live app had been downloaded a million times with more than 74% of downloaders taking up a paid subscription.

“This is the first year and people have a whole new experience they need to get their head around . . . but more than 74 per cent of customers converted from the free trial to the [paid] product so that’s been great”

– Adam Good, Telstra Director for Media and Digital Content

Business Spectator reported that it had taken Telstra less than six months to hit the million mark.

In February, 2013, the Financial Review reported that while there had been almost a million downloads, it was partly because the service was limited only to Telstra customers in 2012, the service was then opened up to all customers, regardless of carrier, in 2013.  This apparently followed Telstras negotiations with the NRL which allowed broadcast across multiple carriers, for an extra fee, split between the NRL and Telstra.

The Financial Review reported in July, 2013 that there had been 2 million downloads of the NRL live app on smartphones and ipads, with more than a million video views on the app alone.

In November, 2013, the Financial review reported that the AFL app had more than 2 million downloads.

In December 2013, Roy Morgan Research ran a poll which found that while 6 million Australians over the age of fourteen watch the AFL, only 5.5% or 332,000 used the AFL live app in any given four week period in 2013. The article concluded

“NRL regular season TV viewers are typically more likely to be male and skew younger than AFL viewers. As these groups are also the ones more likely to take up live sports streaming on mobile devices, we could expect the new NRL app will soon attract a higher proportion of its TV viewers than the 4.1% of AFL viewers who used the AFL app in an average month last year. “  


On February 10th, 2014, The Australian reported that the AFL app had been downloaded 1.5 million times, with the NRL app downloaded 800,000 times with numbers expected to increase if Telstra could get them onto Chromecast.

On March 8th, 2014, Fairfax media ran an article that claimed that the AFL app had been downloaded 1.8 million times to the NRL apps 800,000.

On May 5th, 2014, The Financial Review reported that downloads of the AFL app had reached 3.1 million, up about 40% on the uptake in June last year., while the AFL said that it was averaging a million unique viewers across an average weekend of footy.


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