Australia’s free-to-air broadcasters are facing stagnant advertising revenues over the next five years despite the growth of their catch-up platforms and viewing on mobile devices.

That's according to PwC’s annual Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2015-2019 released today.

The rush of advertising dollars from traditional media to online will continue with internet advertising set to account for more than 50% of the total advertising market by 2019,  PwC predicts.

The report shows  81% of the commercial FTA broadcasters’ $1.9 billion content budget is spent on local productions.

But Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason estimates that news, sport and light factual programming represent half of Australia's filmed entertainment production.

Mason says Screen Australia’s funding underpins 50% of all local narrative screen projects: feature films adult and children’s TV drama and documentaries.

PwC expects FTA ad revenues to total $3.795 billion this year, down 1% on 2014’s $3.835 billion. Revenues are predicted to virtually flat-line, reaching $3.835 billion in 2019.

Nine group’s sales and marketing director Peter Wiltshire says 26% of the FTA audience is watching catch-up services each week.

The audience for part one of Nine’s House of Hancock rose by 30% from the overnight figure with repeats and playback viewing, but that doesn’t include those who watched on the 9Jumpin or Stan platforms.

Wilshire says, "The word television is an Achilles heel: it needs to be redfined as video."  The report says an industry ratings system which measures TV and online offerings is needed to measure cross-screen advertising and to provide broadcasters with dollars that are commensurate with eyeballs.

PwC  forecasts Freeview Plus, which enables viewers to watch FTA catch-up services on their TVs, will be in 10% of homes by this September and will continue to increase as consumers upgrade their TVs .


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