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Borgen Sidse Babett Knudsen

European Streaming Hitting Records Too, Thanks to Netflix, Amazon

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: streaming services had a record 2020 in the pandemic, led by viewership on SVOD stalwarts Netflix and Amazon. Except these newest records were set in Europe’s fractured and complex markets, according to a study released this week by the European Audiovisual Observatory, a media think tank.

In Europe’s case, 2020 revenues for all flavors of online video jumped to an estimated $14 billion, up 30X over the past decade ($468 million in 2010). Subscription video drove most of the growth, hitting $11.7 billion in 2020.

Amazon and Netflix led the way, as in the United States.

But the mix of competitors featured some distinctive Continental flavors, including Salto (backed by three French TV groups), and the UK-focused Britbox, which features shows from the BBC and ITV, alongside the year’s global breakout, the increasingly omnipresent Disney+.

As in the United States, online viewership was significantly accelerated by widespread pandemic lockdowns that left tens of millions of people across the Continent stuck at home, looking for ways to pass the time.

The Observatory’s report said 140.7 million Euro consumers now have at least one subscription service, citing estimated from UK-based Ampere Analysis. That too is a big jump from previous years, up 36 percent just since 2019, and nearly double 2018.

Netflix, which has profitably mined the riches of European libraries for years for programming that can play well not only there but worldwide, led the way in revenues, earning $6.4 billion from its 54.4 million subscribers in 28 countries. That accounted for 55 percent of the entire Euro SVOD market.

Amazon results were also impressive, though well behind Netflix, with 29 million subscribers, $1.1 billion in revenues, and a 19-percent market share, according to the Observatory report.

Apple TV+, in contrast to its muted U.S. presence, is No. 3 in Europe, according to the report, though Apple doesn’t break out streaming revenue even on a global basis. During its recent quarterly earnings, the company said its Services unit, which includes TV+ among much else, had generated more $15 billion in the holiday quarter.

Other services with tiny pieces of the Continent (with market shares from 4 percent to 1 percent) included Disney+ (10 million subs, ); sports-focused Dazn (4 million subs); HBO (1.6 million subs); and Now TV, the Comcast-owned Euro streamer (1.9 million subscribers).

Regional SVOD services within the Continent were finding some home-field advantages, such as Scandinavia’s Viaplay, which was No. 2 in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Italy’s TIM Vision was No. 3 in Italy, and RTL’s Videoland was No. 2 in the Netherlands.

VOD of all flavors – including transactional and ad-supported services – remain a modest 7 percent of the Continent’s overall AV market, which hit $137 billion in pre-pandemic 2019, the last year of available data.

Unlike the U.S., publicly funded broadcasting is big in Europe, generating nearly a quarter of the overall business. Commercial TV and traditional pay TV services together generated 57 percent of the overall market in 2019.