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Industry / Market - Europe/USA

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

48% of children’s TV channels in Europe belong to a US company, a new European Audiovisual Observatory report finds


The report also reveals that 59% of entertainment-focused subscription video-on-demand services are owned by US outfits

48% of children’s TV channels in Europe belong to a US company, a new European Audiovisual Observatory report finds
The wildly popular British cartoon Peppa Pig, available on streaming platforms such as Netflix

Last week, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) published a new report titled “Audiovisual Media Services in Europe”, authored by Dr Agnes Schneeberger. The study focuses on media ownership and, in particular, on TV channels and on-demand services operating on the continent.

In detail, the EAO research finds that the European AV sector boasts a total of 12,664 audiovisual media services available in wider Europe (namely, the 27 EU member states plus Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and Ukraine).

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Specifically, around three-quarters of these are linear services (9,349 TV channels) and one-quarter are non-linear services (3,315 VoD services and video-sharing platforms). The study notes, “The content of AV services in Europe reveals significant differences between linear and non-linear services”, with “TV programming [being] largely defined by thematic fragmentation” and “on-demand services having a clear focus on film and TV fiction content”.

In terms of ownership, Europe’s TV market is divided into “a public sector with mainly generalist programming available on DTT [digital terrestrial television] networks” and “a private sector which has expanded into thematic cable, IPTV and satellite channels”. Furthermore, 97% of on-demand services are privately owned, but public-service media have also entered the market, “mostly offering catch-up of their linear programming”, with “one in five public on-demand services [being] paying services – for example, the international version of the BBC iPlayer”.

Next, the report points out that “most non-European parent companies of AV services in Europe are US players”. Indeed, 18% of all TV channels (excluding local TV channels) are US-owned, and more than one-third of all SVoD (39%) and TVoD (33%) services in Europe belong to a US company (for multi-country SVoD and TVoD services, one catalogue is counted as one service).

All in all, US-based players dominate children’s TV and entertainment SVoD. In particular, 48% of children’s TV channels in Europe and 59% of entertainment subscription video-on-demand services are US-owned.  Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and JimJam are among the market leaders of children’s TV.

Notably, non-European players have gained a strong foothold in the European audiovisual market, since one in five of the top 50 TV groups and over one-third of the top 50 groups for on-demand services have a non-European parent company.

In addition, US-based players have achieved by far “the largest scope of operating markets across Europe”. The Walt Disney Company, for example, has a virtual European omnipresence, operating in 44 European TV markets.

Finally, the report notes that pan-European players choose different strategies when it comes to establishing hubs. “Netflix, for example, uses a centralised strategy with one main country of establishment from where it targets the European markets”, whilst Vivendi adopts “a multi-country strategy, where typically a small number of countries serve as a basis to target various national markets” and AT&T “applies a decentralised strategy where a larger number of establishment hubs serve the European markets”.

You can access the full document here.

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