As the OTT phenomenon spreads in the European continent, the attitudes and behaviours of its viewers are also evolving. Streaming service providers have been carefully observing the European viewing habits to leverage an OTT industry boom in the continent. In 2019, Europeans added two hours more of their time spent on video-on demand (VOD) content compared to the previous year. Not to mention, non-linear video viewership has been growing at an estimated 21% each year. With such healthy viewership statistics, it is no wonder that many international media companies and local European broadcasters are investing to get a piece of the European OTT pie.
According to MUVI, currently there are 2,536 on-demand video services in the entire European union. Western Europe is particularly the major contributor to the OTT market share with studies saying that revenues are expected to double in this region between 2020 and 2025. The maximum OTT impact has been felt in the UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia. Subscription Video-on Demand services (SVOD) is the most common type of VOD consumption in Western Europe. SVOD and TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) revenues increased from EUR 388.8 million in 2010 to EUR 11.6 billion in 2020, in the European Union, of which EUR 9.7 billion was contributed by SVOD alone. Multiple streaming services launched over the past 10 years and rapid consumer adoption in Europe have led to the growth in SVOD revenues, with OTT SVOD subscriptions passing from 300 000 subscriptions in 2010 to over 140 million in 2020.
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Insights into the European Viewer
Jodi Susman, Chief Marketing Officer of Penthera says that mobile viewing has become a regular habit for a significant number of viewers. In 2020, 46% of subscribers streamed video content on their phones daily and 27% streamed on their phones weekly. This is a 7% jump in mobile streaming viewership from 2019. 85% of those surveyed said that they experienced video re-buffering, annoying advertisements and other streaming frustrations. This can be pegged at the fragile cellular infrastructure in Europe. A DW Akademie study said that in 2018 Germany had one of the worst 4G mobile networks in Europe.
Jodie further goes on to say that European users prefer to download videos from OTT platforms that have this in-built feature. Respondents said that their main reason to download the videos was to watch them whenever and wherever they wanted. Two thirds of the respondents said that they expect a streaming app to include a download option.
A European Broadcaster Perspective
European broadcasters and content providers are leaving no stone unturned to bolster their viewership and keep players like Netflix, Amazon and Disney at bay.
Many European broadcasters and distributors are entering into joint ventures to launch OTT services. The very fact that Netflix is a less dominant player in Europe as compared to the US opens up avenues for homegrown content providers to establish local OTT platforms. According to Filmtake, France has an OTT service called Salto which is a collaboration of three different French broadcasting services.
Since connectivity is a major concern, European broadcasters are investing to build robust OTT ecosystems with improved technology.
Lastly, football is an advantage for local content providers. With major European football matches and league events having a year-round calendar, OTT service providers have secured profitability for football clubs by taking these matches to more viewers at home.
What to Expect
Estimates suggest that the European OTT subscription revenue would touch USD $18.24 billion dollars by 2025. That makes Europe a bankable market with both the local and international OTT broadcasters vying for a piece of the share. Heavyweights such as Apple and Disney are slated to release their streaming services following Netflix and Amazon in some of the most lucrative European countries.
One of the requirements set by the European Commission is that international players need to have catalogues that offer at least 30% European content on their platforms. With such factors that make the competition tighter, it will be interesting to see how the local and international players navigate these waters in the battle for viewership.
At the end of the day, the ones who can solve the pain points of the customer and leverage mobile viewing habits might stay ahead of the curve.
Looking to steer your OTT ship towards European shores? Enveu is here to captain it for you. Get in touch for assistance.