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Industry / Market - Europe/USA

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

Non-European audiovisual players gain a strong foothold in the European market, the new EAO report finds

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The research reveals that five private TV channels and over one-third of all SVoD and TVoD services in Europe belong to a US-owned company

Non-European audiovisual players gain a strong foothold in the European market, the new EAO report finds
The series Money Heist - an example of a popular European-set show made by a US streamer

This month, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) published the 2022 edition of its Audiovisual Media Services in Europe report. The research, authored by Agnes Schneeberger, is based on the analysis of May 2022 figures provided by EAO’s MAVISE database.

In detail, the document offers insights into the European audiovisual sector from two perspectives. The first zooms in on the supply of audiovisual media services across the continent, presenting figures for television, on-demand services and video-sharing platforms available in, and originating from, the European market. The second looks at the main players operating in Europe, with a specific focus on the top 50 and top ten TV groups, and those for on-demand services. Predictably, particular attention is paid to the impact of US-owned players.

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The geographical focus of the research includes the 27 EU member states, plus Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

As of May 2022, the European market boasts “a total of 12,275 audiovisual media services available in wider Europe”, with “around three-quarters of these being linear services (9,080 TV channels)” and “one-quarter being non-linear services (3,195 VoD services and video-sharing platforms)”. Furthermore, most audiovisual services are in private hands (only 7% are in public ownership), and 60% of them offer thematic programming.

On the whole, US-owned players represent most of the non-European parent companies providing audiovisual services in Europe. Almost one in five (19%) of all private TV channels (excluding local TV) are US-owned, whilst over one-third of all SVoD (38%) and TVoD (34%) services in Europe belong to a US company.

More generally, the report finds that “non-European players have gained a strong foothold in the European audiovisual market”, as “one in four of the top 50 TV groups and more than one-third of the top 50 groups for on-demand services have a non-European parent company”. Moreover, “the majority of the top 50 players, ranked by number of services, operate outside their domestic market”.

Among the prominent non-European players, the document mentions the examples of The Walt Disney Company, which has “a virtual European omnipresence, operating in 45 European TV markets”; Netflix, which exploits “a centralised strategy with a single country of establishment from where it targets the European markets”; and AT&T, which uses “a larger number of establishment hubs [to] serve the European markets”.

In terms of content, “while TV programming is largely defined by thematic fragmentation, on-demand services have a clear focus on film and TV fiction content”. In addition, 97% of all on-demand services are privately owned, and one in five public on-demand services are for pay.

Among the top ten TV and on-demand groups owned by a non-European parent company are Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, Google, Apple, Amazon Prime Video and AMC Networks. Meanwhile, the biggest European players are France’s Canal Plus/Vivendi, the Czech Republic’s United Group (controlled by the UK’s BC Partners) and Serbia’s Pink Media Group, along with the BBC and Telekom Srbija (both publicly owned.)

To consult the full study, please click here.

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