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Are operators in Western Europe regaining control over content distribution?

According to dataxis, the Western European market is experiencing a saturation of VOD offerings caused by the launch of a growing number of platforms. The growth of traditional players is slowing down and the launch of new platforms needs to be carefully planned to attract users. OTT services need to intensify their efforts to expand their user base and above all retain them. In that context, platforms turn towards telecommunication operators to benefit from their strong penetration rate and knowledge of national markets. While network agnosticism was at the heart of OTT disruption, paradoxically we see a return of operators at the forefront of content distribution. The recent launches of Paramount+ and Peacock illustrate this trend perfectly: Peacock is taking advantage of Sky’s networks in Europe to support its international expansion, as Paramount+, which has implemented 31 partnerships in 2021.

These collaborations mainly take the form of bundles where OTT subscriptions are fully or partially sold by the operator at an agreed price and added to the customer’s mobile or broadband package charges. The OTT service is then integrated into the operator’s branded TV service, usually through a set-top box or pay TV interface.

This approach is becoming more systematic for new entrants, as illustrated by HBO Max, but it was already largely used by other well established platforms like Viaplay, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Netflix which has partnerships with Orange, Canal, Sky, Deutsche Telekom, Virgin to name but a few.

This strategy benefits not only the platforms but also the operators. Platforms generate new subscriptions by increasing their reach: Netflix can reach a potential 224 million subscribers in Western Europe through its partnerships with telecommunication actors in the first quarter of 2022. Operators generally offer their customers aggregated packages, which are more attractive, thereby generating new subscriptions or achieving a better retention rate. It is also an opportunity for telecommunication companies to differentiate themselves from competitors in a context of increasing homogenisation of mobile and broadband services.

This approach is becoming more systematic for new entrants, as illustrated by HBO Max, but it was already largely used by other well established platforms like Viaplay, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Netflix which has partnerships with Orange, Canal, Sky, Deutsche Telekom, Virgin to name but a few.

This strategy benefits not only the platforms but also the operators. Platforms generate new subscriptions by increasing their reach: Netflix can reach a potential 224 million subscribers in Western Europe through its partnerships with telecommunication actors in the first quarter of 2022. Operators generally offer their customers aggregated packages, which are more attractive, thereby generating new subscriptions or achieving a better retention rate. It is also an opportunity for telecommunication companies to differentiate themselves from competitors in a context of increasing homogenisation of mobile and broadband services. Victor Galland, Analyst at Dataxis

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