The future of European VoD discussed at Venice Production Bridge
- The second day of the initiative hosted a conference entitled “Diverse, independent and sustainable: building European VoD”
On 4 September, the VoD Market Day and second day of the 2020 edition of the Venice Production Bridge (3-11 September), a conference entitled “Diverse, independent and sustainable: building European VoD” took place at the Hotel Excelsior's Spazio Incontri. The event, attended by a limited number of industry delegates and streamed globally on the Venice Production Bridge Live Channel, was introduced with the opening remarks of Silvia Cibien, EUROVOD's General Delegate.
The floor was then given to Pascal Diot, Venice Production Bridge's head, who was glad that the event was taking place physically in these difficult times and highlighted the participation of 1400 professionals on the Lido. Next, in his speech, Sampo Media's Michael Gubbins provided the audience with some figures about Europe's emerging VoD businesses, which are generally small and medium enterprises characterised by diversity in size and model; over 50% of them have over 1,000 titles in their libraries, 80% of their content is European and 75% of these platforms are available in more than one country, 50% in more than three and 20% in more than 20. More importantly, “they all are ambitious, think internationally and care about their audiences” and strive to release “diverse content connecting with a diverse audience,” Gubbins added. For obvious reasons, the lockdown has driven growth in that sector; overall, the platforms saw a 78% increase in traffic, 60% increase in transactions, and experienced an average rise of 270%. Furthermore, 56% of them have hosted or ran a festival. Gubbins pointed out that for many players, the challenges are the lack of marketing and promotion resources (44%), content being held back by distributors (35%), the cost of Mgs (33%) and technical limitations (33%), among others.
Later, EuroVOD's Augustina Lumi presented EUROVOD Pro, an exclusive online market, database and networking space built to collect and disseminate data, developed specially for audiovisual professionals working within the VoD sector. Powered by EUROVOD and co-financed by the Creative Europe Media Programme, the project will be “a place to meet, co-operate, benchmark, share resources, find partners, get informed and get trained.” The idea behind EUROVOD Pro is to allow “supply and demand to meet around the main needs” of the sector, such as digital rights, subtitles, tech solutions, market analysis and financing opportunities. The beta version will be launched on 12 October.
Ampere's Guy Bisson spoke about “VoD Market trends and analytics” and VoD's rapidly evolving ecosystem. Among other topics, he touched upon how the viewing habits have changed owing to the coronavirus outbreak, new platforms launched this year, and the market's continuous stratification, which has seen a reduction of the major player's market shares over the last five years – Amazon and Netflix above all. Moreover, he disclosed that by 2024, the ratio of unique SVoD homes to 'unique' traditional pay TV homes in Western Europe will hit 1.0, making SVoD “the dominant means of subscription” in the region.
The last part of the conference was entitled “Demand creation: how to engage a changing audience” and saw the participation of four more speakers.
Filmin's Jaume Ripoll talked through the innovations brought by the Spanish platform and the new, profitable collaborations with the Barcelona International Documentary Film Festival (which brought an additional 120,000 viewers) and the D'A Film Festival (250,000), established this year, as well as the new, successful edition of their own Atlàntida Film Festival (550,000). Meanwhile, Filmdoo's Weerada Sucharitkul spoke about filmdoo.academy, “the world's first edutainment platform to combine language learning with access to a powerful and extensive international film catalogue online.” Gianluca Guzzo from Mymovies opened his speech by explaining the main challenges faced by the company over the last 20 years and later delved into the collaboration with the Venice Film Festival and the service's viewing model. The group was rounded off by IMZ International Music + Media Centre's secretary general Katharina Jeschke, who introduced the organisation's business model, explained how music and dance films “are more relevant than ever” in a world where “online offering can reach additional viewers beyond their regular audiences.”
An open discussion between the four delegates, moderated by Gubbins, concluded the conference.
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