On the occasion of the Cannes International Film Market, the French Directorate for the Development of the Media (Direction du développement des médias - DDM) and the European Audiovisual Observatory are publishing a study on the development of video-on-demand (VoD) in 24 European countries. The study has been carried out by NPA Conseil.
The study analyses the various technical methods used for video-on-demand, the various economic models applied, the debate on regulation, and the place of video-on-demand in the cinematographic and audiovisual industry. A detailed analysis of about 150 services operational in 24 countries is provided.
More than 150 services operational in Europe
At the end of 2006, 142 pay services (excluding services devoted exclusively
to music and services comprising solely programmes for adults) were
operational in the 24 countries studied. If one adds to this the number
of free access services, those which were set up at the beginning of
2007, and those which exist in countries not covered by the study, the
number of services currently operational in Europe may be estimated
as being more than 150. France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
stand out as leaders in terms of the number of services on offer. Most
of the services in Europe (94) can be accessed via the Internet and
can therefore be viewed on a computer screen. Transmission using the
broadband network, usually as part of an offer for the distribution
of television channels in IPTV mode, constitutes the second most frequently
used mode of distribution (47 services). In this case the programmes
can be viewed on a television screen. As digital broadcasting by satellite
and by terrestrial network does not permit a return pass, offers of
video-on-demand are possible by storing the programmes on the user's
digital recorder (PVR). The number of services of this type is still
limited in Europe, but they are offered by two of the main digital television
content aggregators (BSkyB's Sky Anytime service in the
Number of services per country and breakdown by broadcasting networks (end of 2006)Not including free services, video clip services, and services for adults.
(1) A service may be available of a number of different networks, but is only counted once in the total.
(2) A service may be available in a number of different countries; in this case, it would be counted more than once in the total.
Source: NPA Conseil / European Audiovisual Observatory
Three types of player are particularly active in the video-on-demand market:
Less importantly, a number of production companies or associations of producers also edit services. The main cinematographic groups in Europe have not yet announced their own services, in contrast to the situation in the United States where the Hollywood majors are the origin of the Movielink service. One should nevertheless note the involvement of the Svensk Filmindustri group in the SF‑Anytime service which can be accessed in the various Scandinavian countries. In Europe, the American majors are collaborating with the main national VoD services, mainly in the context of non-exclusive agreements, although Warner has joined forces with Arveto (Bertelsmann group) to launch the Film2Home service in German-speaking countries.
Three types of economic model emerge
Films are the main content in the editorial offer of services
Study of the catalogues for VoD services in Europe shows that films represent more than half the titles on offer against payment.
As for the breakdown between new releases and stock titles, the information communicated by the operators is not sufficiently precise to be able to establish consolidated figures. Observation of the various services nevertheless shows that new releases represent between 3 and 25% of the cinema titles, depending on the service.
Exploitation windows are tending to shrink
In those countries where there is a specific window for vthe release of films in VoD, usually laid down as part of interprofessional agreements, these agreements are, in most cases, being renegotiated, with a clear tendency towards the windows becoming smaller. VoD release on the same day as DVD release (the "day-to-date" system current in the United States) is becoming more frequent, mainly in the Scandinavian countries.
The need for greater transparency
The study highlights the need for greater transparency on the part of operators. In a context of investment and serious competition, they are relatively unwilling to release figures that would demonstrate the development of the market and the success of the works proposed in their catalogues. Greater transparency should be a positive factor, creating confidence on the part of both consumers and rightsholders in respect of this new method for circulating their work.
The study will be presented from 2.30 to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday, 19 May 2007 in the Salon des Ambassadeurs on the 4th floor of the Palais des Festivals (Cannes, France) as part of the workshop on "VoD vs. cinema?" being organised by the European Audiovisual Observatory.
The French version of the study will be available on the DDM's Internet site, at http://www.ddm.gouv.fr/.
The study will be marketed, in English, German and French, by the European Audiovisual Observatory (http://www.obs.coe.int).
European Audiovisual Observatory - Alison Hindhaugh, email@example.com
DDM - Isabelle Jamieson, firstname.lastname@example.org