Can local streaming services compete with leading international ones across Central and Eastern Europe?
This February – according to unconfirmed reports on Valentine’s Day – will see SkyShowtime expand further into the region with launches in eight markets. At the same time, one of those markets (the Czech Republic) will also see the launch of a new streaming service by the Prima Group named prima+.
Meanwhile Hungary, which will also welcome SkyShowTime in February, saw RTL launch a subscription-based, ad-free service named RTL+ towards the end of last year.
Several countries in CEE already have relatively mature streaming markets thanks largely to the success of international services like Netflix and to a lesser extent HBO Max and Prime Video. In Poland, Netflix remains by far and away the most popular among internet users, easily outscoring Disney+, Viaplay and local services operated by Polsat, TVN and TVP.
Competing with the likes of Netflix requires local streamers, especially new ones, to be different. Not only in terms of the content they offer but also such aspects as pricing.
Take prima+, which will launch against the backdrop of a Czech market where, according to Atmedia, around 40% of people already access streaming services. In its research Atmedia has found that a majority of them would not stop using such services if they were to introduce advertising, though they would expect to pay a lower fee.
In a press event in late January, Prima Group, which is one of the country’s leading broadcasters, announced that prima+ will be the only flexible video service on the Czech market. It will consist of three tariffs, each of which allows for five unique profiles, with the Premium tariff being ad-free.
The service will also include Prima+ ORIGINALS, premium formats by leading Czech creators in which Prima Group says it will invest in heavily.
While this is no guarantor of success, it will at least mean that prima+ enters the market offering something different.
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