The merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery will almost certainly impact streaming services across Central and Eastern Europe.
In Poland, for instance, the Discovery-owned national commercial broadcaster TVN currently operates a platform called Player, while discovery+ made its debut in the country last November. They compete with a host of other services including Netflix, Polsat’s ipla, TVP VOD, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Go. The latter is expected to be replaced shortly by HBO Max once it starts a general rollout in Europe, and both NENT Group’s Viaplay (August) and Disney+ are also set to enter the Polish market later this year.
Consolidation between Player, discovery+ and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max looks almost inevitable, certainly in the medium term, once the WarnerMedia/Discovery merger is concluded in mid-2022. The resulting entity will be able to compete far more effectively with Netflix, which has made a huge impact on the Polish market since its launch in early 2016.
Elsewhere in CEE, the three Baltic countries are attracting increased attention from providers of streaming services. They include Discovery, which has just launched discovery+, and NENT Group, which gave a debut to Viaplay in March. The Baltic media company TV3 Group is distributing discovery+ and may also offer its customers Disney+ when it launches in the region, having signed a content agreement with Walt Disney last December.
Here, too, as indeed the rest of CEE, we can in due course expect some degree of consolidation between WarnerMedia’s and Discovery’s streaming services.
Looking to the future, and globally rather than just at CEE, Netflix and the rapidly expanding Disney+ look the best placed of the leading streaming services to survive in their current form. Netflix, despite seeing a recent slowdown in growth, had 207.64 million paid customers as of the end of March, while Disney+ has just reported a total of 103.6 million. Discovery+, a relative newcomer to the scene, had 13 million subscribers in the first quarter and HBO/HBO Max 44.2 million.
For more information about Chris Dziadul, please visit https://www.chrisdziadul.com