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Back One in five private TV channels and more than a third of all SVOD and TVOD services in Europe belong to a US company

European Audiovisual Observatory publishes new free report on Audiovisual Media Services in Europe
One in five private TV channels and more than a third of all SVOD and TVOD services in Europe belong to a US company

Download "Audiovisual media services in Europe - 2022 edition" here


This new report finds that:

  • The European AV sector boasts a total of 12 275 audiovisual media services available in wider Europe (May 2022). Around three quarters of these are linear services (9 080 TV channels) and one quarter are non-linear services  (3 195 VOD services and video-sharing platforms). 
    Europe includes: EU27, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
  • US players represent most non-European parent companies of AV services in Europe. Around one in five (19%) of all private TV channels (excluding local TV) are US-owned and over one third of all SVOD (38%) and TVOD (34%) services in Europe belong to a US company (For multi-country SVOD and TVOD services, one catalogue is counted as one service).
  • US players are all fully operating on pan-European level, serving numerous European markets. The Walt Disney Company, for example, has a virtual European omnipresence operating in 45 European TV markets.

To map the ever-changing European audiovisual sector the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has published a new edition of its annual report on TV channels and on-demand services in Europe. This report – Audiovisual Media Services in Europe – was authored by Agnes Schneeberger, Analyst within the Observatory’s Department for Market Information.

One in four audiovisual media services in Europe is an on-demand service

The European audiovisual media services sector has been shaped by the development of its unique national media ecosystems. This diversity is reflected by a sector boasting a total of 12 275 audiovisual media services which are available in wider Europe (May 2022). Around three quarters of these are linear services (9 080 TV channels) and one quarter are non-linear services (3 195 VOD services and video-sharing platforms).

The content of AV services in Europe reveals significant differences between linear and non-linear services. While TV programming is largely defined by thematic fragmentation, on-demand services have a clear focus on film and TV fiction content.

With regards to ownership, the European TV market is divided into a public sector with mainly generalist programming available on DTT networks and a private sector which has expanded into thematic cable and satellite channels. Almost all on-demand services are privately owned (97%). Public service media have entered the market as well, mostly offering catch-up of their linear programming. One in five public on-demand services are for pay, for example the international version of the BBC iPlayer.

US players prominent in European TV and on-demand sector

Non-European players have taken a strong foothold in the European AV market. One in four of the top 50 TV groups and more than a third of the top 50 groups for on-demand services has a non-European parent company.

US players represent the largest group of non-European parent companies of AV services in Europe. Around one in five (19%) of all private TV channels (excluding local TV) are US-owned and over one third of all SVOD (38%) and TVOD (34%) services in Europe belong to a US company.

US players are all fully operating on a pan-European level, serving numerous European markets. The Walt Disney Company, for example, has a virtual European omnipresence operating in 45 European TV markets.

With regards to their establishment hubs, pan-European players employ different strategies. Netflix, for example, uses a centralized strategy with a single country of establishment from where it is targeting the European markets. A core hubs strategy is used by the BBC, where typically a small number of countries serve as a basis to target various national markets. AT&T, by contrast, applies a decentralized strategy where a larger number of establishment hubs serve the European markets.
 

Strasbourg 5 January 2023
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