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SVOD race and COVID-19 crisis boost M&A spree in Europe

THE EUROPEAN AUDIOVISUAL OBSERVATORY PUBLISHES A NEW REPORT ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP IN EUROPE
Strasbourg 18 January 2022
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SVOD race and COVID-19 crisis boost M&A spree in Europe

Download "Top players in the European audiovisual industry – ownership and concentration / 2021 Edition" here

This brand-new report: Top players in the European audiovisual industry – ownership and concentration - 2021 Edition has just been published by the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

The report aims to shed light on the structure of the AV industry in Europe in terms of revenues as well as other performance indicators specific to key audiovisual market segments. The analysis provides snapshots of the top AV players and explores concentration, statute, and origin of ownership by revenues, pay TV subscriptions, SVOD subscriptions, number of TV channels, number of on-demand services, TV audiences, number of TV fiction titles produced and number of cinema screens. It also provides transversal views for players active in more than one market segment.

All top lists are available for download in an excel format within the report and the majority of the rankings include more than the first 20 leading players of each specific AV market presented in the report pages.

The report finds that at the end of 2020:

  • The top 100 audiovisual companies in Europe by operating AV services revenues showed resilience to COVID-19
  • M&A activity has been pushed up by the streaming rush and the pandemic crisis
  • US interests in the European AV industry follow an upward trend
  • Top AV players in Europe are eclectic as regards their portfolio of leading activities
  • SVOD remained the most concentrated AV market in Europe in terms of subscriptions
  • PSBs accounted for one third of global viewing consumption in Europe

The cumulated operating AV services revenues of the top 100 audiovisual companies in Europe (+7.7% over 2016 at the end of 2020) grew slightly more than average inflation and the overall market. The growth was driven solely by the private sector (+12% over the same period), with over 75% of the incremental revenues cumulatively delivered by pure SVOD players alone (Netflix, Amazon and DAZN, for which separate data on European operations was available). By contrast, the revenues of the traditional players have stagnated, with businesses relying on advertising being more severely affected and PSBs weight dropping by 3% over the five-year period (down to 31% in 2020).

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

Concentration remains similar over the analysed period, with the top 20 players accounting for around 70% of the top 100 European AV groups by operating revenues. Although this percentage is much higher in the private sector (85%), it still shows less concentration when compared to the US market.

The degree of internationalisation was on the rise regarding US interests for the five-year period (+4% up to 31% of the top 100 revenues in 2020) with a preference for prioritising direct as opposed to traditional indirect investments. While the share of US interests was by far the highest in the SVOD market (78%) at the end of 2020, their contribution as (executive) producers of European TV fiction titles remained limited (6% of the total number of TV fiction titles produced in Europe between 2015-2019).

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

The M&A activity did not really impact the share of the US-backed players or significantly contribute to the overall growth, but it did help bolster the top 100 players’ revenues in Europe. The top 100 developed between 2016 and 2020 against a very dynamic backdrop of consolidations and divestments which was boosted by the SVOD race and to the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking to obtain more premium content at competitive prices, seeking to pair that content with strong distribution, aiming to build strong convergent telco offers, eyeing territorial expansion or refocusing on strongholds were just a few of the rationales followed by players in their quest to strengthen their market positions.

Although active in several AV market segments at the same time, most of the top 100 AV companies in Europe by operating AV revenues appear to be driven by one leading activity, rendering the top 100 heterogeneous as regards their portfolio. The highest-ranking players tend to also hold a strong position in at least one additional activity. Specifically, for broadcasters and TV packagers, diversifying into TV production seems a common strategy as, probably, an answer to the threat of on-demand over-the-top services.

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

With the top four OTT platforms controlling over 70% of subscriptions, SVOD stands out as the most concentrated audiovisual market segment in Europe, followed by pay TV with 72% of subscriptions cumulated by the top 20 pay-TV operators.

Even if under-represented in terms of volume (9% of TV channels and 3% of ODAS), PSBs accounted for one third of global viewing consumption in Europe and almost all of them were offering at least one on-demand service at the end of 2020.


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Women represent less than one film director out of four in Europe

The European Audiovisual Observatory publishes new report on the gender of directors and screenwriters in European film and audiovisual fiction.
Strasbourg, France 31 July 2020
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Women represent less than one film director out of four in Europe

Download Female directors and screenwriters in European film and audiovisual fiction production

Key insights

  • Between 2015 and 2018, only 22% of directors of European feature films were women. The share of female professionals directing audiovisual fiction episodes is even lower: 19%
  • The gender gap is less pronounced among screenwriters: women represent 25% of screenwriters in film and 34% in audiovisual fiction series.
  • Female professionals were less likely to be the sole director or screenwriter: out of all films written by at least one female screenwriter, 67% were written in teams with other colleagues.
  • Between 2015 and 2019 only 18% of European films had a majority of female directors, with no significant evolution over the years. This figure is only 14% for audiovisual fiction episodes. 
  • The share of films made by female-majority teams is higher for documentary films than for other film genres, taking into account films made by female directors (25%) and female screenwriters (25%). 

This report provides an assessment of the gender imbalance among directors and screenwriters in Europe, looking at both feature films and audiovisual fiction series.
Our analysis provides an overview of the gender of directors and screenwriters of European film and audiovisual fiction episodes, including information on film genres and content type. In addition, it explores the gender composition of direction and screenwriting teams and identifies the share of films by female-majority teams.

1. Women still the minority in directing and screenwriting film and fiction 

Women represent 22% of all directors of European feature films active between 2015 and 2018. This gap is even more pronounced in audiovisual fiction, where women only account for 19% of directors. Instead, the female presence is higher in the category of screenwriters, as women represent 25% of active professionals in feature film and 34% in audiovisual fiction.

Share of active female professionals, by professional category (2015-2018)


Source: European Audiovisual Observatory / LUMIERE, Plurimedia

The prevalence of female professionals is higher in documentary films than other film genres, as regards both film directors (28%) and screenwriters (30%).

2. In two out of three cases, a female screenwriter works in partnership with at least one other colleague (who is a man in 87% of the cases)

Based on the data in our sample, women tend to work in teams with other people more often than men, a pattern that can be observed across all groups considered.
For instance, taking into account feature films written by at least one female screenwriter, 67% were co-written with another professional. This compares with only 55% of films co-written for cinema by at least one male screenwriter.

Breakdown of European feature films by gender of screenwriter (2015-2018)


Source: European Audiovisual Observatory / LUMIERE

In all professional categories considered, female professionals are proportionally more likely than men to work in gender-mixed teams.
On average, women in all groups were slightly less active then their male counterparts. For instance, 91% of female directors only directed one single film, compared for 86% for men.
For these reasons, when considering the share of women weighted by the total number of professionals (directors or screenwriters) for each film or episode, the results are lower than than the share of active female professionals in each sub-group. However, significant differences can be observed across countries and professional categories. 

Weighted average share of female professionals, by professional category (2015-2018)

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory / LUMIERE, Plurimedia

3. Only 18% of feature films were directed by female-majority teams of directors

Between 2015 and 2018, only 18% of European feature films in our sample were directed by a female-driven team (i.e. by a majority of female professionals in the role of director). This figure is lower for episodes of fiction series (14%).  Among screenwriters, the share of works written by female-driven teams is 17% for feature films and 21% for audiovisual fiction episodes. 

Documentary is the film genre with the highest share share of titles by female-driven teams, both considering both teams of directors (25%) and screenwriters (25%). In all groups, the share of works by majority-female teams of professionals has not substantially changed over the timeframe we analysed.

Share of works by female-driven* teams of professionals (2015-2018)


Source: European Audiovisual Observatory / LUMIERE, Plurimedia

*In this context, “female-driven” refers to feature films or audiovisual fiction episodes by a majority (≥ 60%) of female professionals working in each role. Works by female-driven teams can be made either: by one individual female director/screenwriter; by several female directors/screenwriters; by teams of directors/creenwriters of both genders with a female presence of at least 60%.

Download Female directors and screenwriters in European film and audiovisual fiction production here

Methodological note

For feature films, the analysis draws on data from the European Audiovisual Observatory’s LUMIERE database, which collates annual admissions to theatrically released films from a variety of sources, including national film agencies. The study sample comprises European feature films produced between 2015 and 2018 and theatrically released between 2015 and 2019. The data on audiovisual fiction series were provided by Plurimedia and include TV films and fiction series of EU origin (including the UK), broadcast or made available on SVOD services or TV channels across the EU between 2015 and 2018.


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