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Industry Report: Distribution and Exhibition

More than 700 on-demand audiovisual services available in Europe


- The European Audiovisual Observatory and the Direction du développement des médias (France) are publishing a new study entitled Video on Demand and Catch-Up Television in Europe. This work offers professionals an up-to-date overview of recent developments and examines the various business models and strategies of the different types of player in both Europe and the United States.

More than 700 on-demand audiovisual services available in Europe

A first survey of on-demand audiovisual services in Europe

The study provides a survey of the on-demand audiovisual services existing in Europe and is based on the criteria established in the new European Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which was adopted in November 2007 and is currently being transposed into national law by the EU member states. According to the directive, the main criterion when defining a service is editorial control rather than the management of a distribution platform capable of providing users with various services.

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Applying this criterion, the European Audiovisual Observatory has identified 696 services from 366 different providers that were operational at the end of December 2008. The United Kingdom had the most services (145), followed by France (106) and Italy (93). More than half these services were delivered via the internet, 30% on a DSL network (in the IPTV mode), 7% on cable and less than 3% by satellite. At the moment, the only on-demand services delivered by digital terrestrial television are available on the Top Up TV platform in the United Kingdom.

The Observatory’s survey does not take account of services distributed on mobile telephones (which have proliferated thanks to the success of the Apple iPhone) or websites devoted solely to the provision of information, trailers or adult programmes. Nor does it consider the channels set up by commercial undertakings in the context of video sharing sites such as YouTube or Dailymotion. Despite some significant service closures (especially those caused by the shutdown of the Tiscali Italia platform on 31 December 2008), the number of new services has not stopped growing in 2009, so it is justified to assume that there are currently more than 700 services operating in Europe.

Number of on-demand audiovisual media services in Europe by country of reception and type of network (December 2008)

Not included: services on mobile telephones, adult services, video sharing services and company chains within video sharing services, and services that only offer information videos, trailers and highlights.

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

Number of on-demand audiovisual services in Europe by type of network (December 2008)

A wide range of service providers

On-demand audiovisual services are provided by many different players. The traditional audiovisual players (television channel providers, film companies, satellite package operators, cable operators) have been joined by two powerful categories: the telecommunications network operators and the manufacturers (of games consoles, mobile telephones and other multimedia devices).

Breakdown of on-demand audiovisual service providers in Europe by original business field (December 2008)

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