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Europe OTT market, several regional players look to cut into Netflix’s dominance

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. Europe is expected to showcase significant growth during the forecast period owing to emerging local joint ventures such as salto, Joyn, BritBox, lovesTV, and more.

Broadcast media in Europe is also implementing streaming options in countries such as Germany, Spain, and France. This is expected to increase the market expansion in the region.

For instance, in February 2019, Netflix, Inc. launched a new European Original Series, which includes two German and One Norwegian series. The series are named Biohackers, Unorthodox and Bloodride. These three projects show Netflix’s commitment to the European market and offer locally grounded and original stories that can touch the audience globally.

According to the research report, Europe Over The Top Market Outlook, 2028 the overall market is projected to grow over 15% CAGR for 2023-28. 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 the obtained data, 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.

According to the report, the market is segmented into major countries such as Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and Russia. Among them, United Kingdom is leading the market in 2022. Currently, there are 2,536 on-demand video services in the entire European Union. 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) generated higher revenues in 2022.

Multiple streaming services launched over the past 10 years and rapid consumer adoption in Europe has led to the growth in SVOD revenues, with OTT SVOD subscriptions passing 140 Million in 2020. Growth and innovation are expected to continue over the next decade, driven largely by increasing accessibility and market penetration of smartphones and mobile internet access. The biggest players in Europe are gearing up for heavy growth: One of the biggest players, RTL Group SA, is poised to take over the lead by nearly quadrupling its OTT spending over the next five years. The company, which has interests in 67 TV channels, 10 streaming platforms, and 38 radio stations, plans to spend € 350 Million on OTT in 2025.

Netflix undoubtedly reigns supreme and is the most popular streaming platform in Europe. However, the company is struggling in key markets such as France and Germany where local pay-TV networks and telecom providers heavily contest the streaming giant with their triple-play and quad-play services.

Amazon, one of Netflix’s largest rivals, is gaining a strong foothold in countries such as Germany and is proving to be an attractive option for consumers due to the coupling of its membership plans with the retail arm of the business. However, it is the myriad of local media companies and pay-TV providers who are driving fierce competition in the continent.

For example, Sky, the European quad-play giant, has its own OTT service called NOW TV which gives users the option to get lost in a vast library of content, whilst also offering a standalone sports package that has helped the platform grow.

Similarly, OTT services birthed by cable and pay-TV operators such as Canal Play (CANAL+) in France and Yomvi (Movistar) in Spain for example are leveraging their existing customer base and infrastructure to capture a higher market share and prevent customer churn. Based on the type, the European SVOD market is highly competitive with an increasing number of global and local players competing for market share. Securing the right content is a key element for companies looking to succeed in the OTT video space.

Another new technology trend in Europe – and globally – is the emergence of 5G and telecom operators in the video distribution space. In Europe, the development of 5G infrastructure dates back to 2013, when the European Commission (EC) established a Public Private Partnership on 5G, the EU flagship initiative to accelerate research and innovation in 5G technology. 5G standards are also one of the five priority areas under the recently launched Digitising European Industry initiative. In terms of 5G trials, the EU is gradually catching up with the leading countries and it is not lagging that much behind technically compared to the US, China and other Asian countries thanks to development and investment work done by equipment manufacturers Nokia and Ericsson. The deployment of 4K/UHD television in Europe is currently ongoing; more dedicated channels have been launched since 2017. By the end of 2018, Eutelsat had identified at least 142 UHD channels or services worldwide, of which more than one third (55 channels) were in Europe, including independent channels, pay-TV services and national television channels. These channels mainly serve Western Europe, where the share of households with a UHD TV set was estimated to be around 17% by the end of 2018.

As of 2021, the smartphone penetration rate in Europe is estimated to be around 60-70%. This means that roughly 60-70% of the population in Europe owns a smartphone. The high rate of smartphone penetration in Europe is due to several factors such as widespread access to high-speed internet, the availability of affordable smartphones, and the increasing use of mobile devices for various tasks such as communication, entertainment, and commerce.

The smartphone penetration rate in Europe is expected to continue to grow in the coming years as technology continues to advance and become more accessible. Over-the-top services include movies and TV shows that are provided directly to digital users and it doesn’t need a cable or satellite television subscription.

OTT content is downloaded directly and viewed on the users’ demand. This kind of content includes TV services and movies and can be directly delivered over the internet to connected devices like tablet, smartphone, PC, and console. Currently, the over-the-top services are at a nascent stage and are accepted extensively as a latest technology worldwide. The over-the-top market is anticipated to experience innovative and advanced transformation, which helps the customers in accessing everything they desire in a single space. Business Wire

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