Netflix’s current problems should not detract from the positive impact it has had in Central and Eastern Europe.
Since debuting across the region in early 2016, it has revolutionised the way viewers consume content and paved the way for the launch other on demand services, both domestic and international. Working with local partners, it has also provided a welcome boost to the production industries in several countries.
The latter was clearly demonstrated late last month, when it opened an office in the Polish capital, Warsaw, that will act as a hub for the entire CEE region. It also announced that it had allocated €104 million in 2020-21 for the development of a local library and production of films and series in Poland.
Netflix is clearly popular in CEE. In the Czech Republic, for instance, a survey carried out by the Atmedia media council late last year found that 28% of Czech TV viewers subscribed to at least one streaming service. Of these, three out of four (74%) opted for Netflix.
Meanwhile in Slovakia, the results of a survey just released by Zive and its publisher Ringier show Netflix to be the most popular streaming service among all viewers aged 15-65, though especially the youngest (15-24) group. It is followed by HBO Max (HBO Go) and Voyo, both scoring much higher than Amazon Prime.
In Estonia, the findings of a survey undertaken by the telco Elisa in February make for interesting reading. They include the fact almost 75% of Estonians have tried at least one streaming service and then opt for domestic or better-known foreign services such as Netflix.
Suspending its activities in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine is one of several factors that has impacted negatively on Netflix’s recent performance. In its latest results, the company says that it resulted in 700,000 fewer paid net additions, with a slowdown of its business in CEE in March.
The company nevertheless remains well placed in the region for the many changes that lie ahead.
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