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While Netflix and Amazon continue to expand their international footprint, players from the Old Continent are mounting a resistance. On 11 September, Sky launched a new OTT service in Spain that includes 12 pay-TV, channels, films and series on-demand for 10 EUR/month, and with no minimum commitment.

While rumours of the service’s upcoming rollout had been circulating all summer, an online ad campaign in early September made it clear that Sky was gearing up to launch the OTT service in the country soon. And this could be just the first stage, before a much broader rollout of the British satellite pay-TV giant’s online offering.

If Netflix and Amazon have been building their reputation on their original productions, and laying out colossal sums to do so (more than 6 billion USD for Netflix this year), the Sky brand is associated as much with sport, as cinema and high quality TV series. In the UK, Germany and Italy, as with a classic pay-TV plan, Sky’s OTT subscribers can subscribe to all or on only a portion of the available programming.

Spain will undoubtedly be an edifying testing ground for the service, and for the likelihood of Sky’s strategy succeeding, in a country where pay-TV is still struggling to take off.

Over in Germany – a market where Netflix and Amazon are already competing with Sky and especially with Maxdome, the SVOD service sold by local commercial TV giant, ProSiebenSat.1 – Deutsche Telekom announced plans in early August to launch its own on-demand service called Entertain TV Serien, which is also expected to include exclusive series. Due to become available in October, the telco’s online offering will only be available to its IPTV subscribers, however, and at no extra cost.

It should also be said that the popularity of OTT services should not overshadow the growth that pay-TV services are enjoying in a number of countries. Portuguese regulator, Anacom, recently released its latest pay-TV subscription figures which reveal an ongoing steady rise in the country’s pay-TV subscriber numbers: +27,000 subscribers in Q2 2017, or +3.5% YoY. This growth is being largely undergirded by the widespread availability of fibre access in Portugal. FTTH/B has in fact become the second most widely used network for accessing pay-TV services in the country, behind cable but ahead of ADSL and satellite.

On the other side of the continent, all three of Estonia’s pay-TV providers – Starman, Telia and Viasat – are also reporting that customer numbers grew in the second quarter of 2017.

Over in France, if Canal+ has still not found its way back to growth at home, company executives are still hopeful, following their announcement of the group’s results for the first half of the year, which show the first signs of improvement.

The rivalry between pay-TV and OTT, and between European and American companies is only just kicking off, and the future of the markets and their protagonists is still far from written in stone.

Comparison of pay-TV and SVOD revenue growth in Europe

+2.3% in 2017/2016
+40.9% in 2017/2016

Source : IDATE DigiWorld – World TV and video market, Sept. 2017

To help you deepen your understanding of national markets, the dynamics that drive them and the strategies of TV and OTT market leaders, IDATE delivers the keys to deciphering and its analysis of the current situation in the latest edition of its “World TV and video market” service.


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