This is undoubtedly a golden age for streaming services throughout the world.
Just today (April 9) we have learned that Disney+, launched in the US five months ago and more recently in parts of Western Europe and India, now has more than 50 million subscribers in over a dozen countries. At the same time, Netflix, despite growing competition from Disney+ and Apple TV+, is still more than holding its own. It ended 2019 with over 100 million paid members outside the US and posted revenues of over $20 billion for the full year.
In Europe, the popularity of SVOD in France was highlighted this week in a study undertaken by Médiamétrie late last year, just prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It showed that Netflix was the most used platform, followed by Amazon Prime Video. Since then, Apple TV+ and Disney+ have also appeared on the market, and the locally owned service Salto will be added to the mix later this year.
Perhaps the most telling statistic in the study was that no fewer than 18 million people, or a third of internet users, had watched a programme on at least one platform in the past year.
Although the appearance of Disney+ is still some way off in Central and Eastern Europe, other streaming services are going from strength to strength across the region. A study published by Digital TV Research last May forecast that Netflix will have 8 million subscribers in 22 countries by 2024. However, this will still only be 30% of the total number receiving SVOD services.
Then, as now, Russia and Poland are expected to be the leading markets, together accounting for 58% of customers.
Of course, this may all change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which is already having a dramatic effect on people’s viewing habits. Most countries have imposed quarantine on their citizens and in the case of the Czech Republic this has resulted in a 50% increase in TV viewing among young people.
The acid test will of course come after the health crisis is over and what will probably be a global recession. Its impact will almost certainly be felt in all sectors of the broadcast industry.
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