The market for pay TV and paid video content is thriving in Germany and the entire DACH region, according to a recent report by VAUNET[i]. In Germany, total revenue from pay television and paid video-on-demand in 2021 rose by 13.1% to reach €4.7 billion and is expected to grow by another 8.8% to €5.1 billion in 2022, passing the €5 billion mark for the first time. Meanwhile, in the GSA region – Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland – pay TV and paid VOD revenue totaled €5.6 billion in 2021 (2020: €4.9 billion), an increase of 13.0%. In 2022, VAUNET forecasts a further rise of 8.5% to €6.1 billion, exceeding €6 billion for the first time. This positive market development is driven by high demand for pay TV and SVOD services.
Hannes Heyelmann, EVP & General Manager GSA, Warner Bros. Discovery, commented on the report, “The figures presented by VAUNET show that the growth in pay TV and SVOD in recent years is sustainable, even in a difficult environment. This is very positive news for the market. With its comprehensive and leading pay TV and streaming offerings, Warner Bros. Discovery would like to play an active role in further positive market development. In doing so, we rely on the strong content of the diverse Warner Bros. Discovery program portfolio, acquisitions, and high-quality in-house productions.”
Streaming costs begin to bite
This positive development is coming at the back of a slowdown in streaming video growth elsewhere. In the US, a new NDP survey shows price sensitivity is increasing among users and becoming top-of-mind when deciding to cancel their streaming video subscriptions. From October 2021 to April 2022, the monthly fee jumped up two spots as the reason cited by U.S. consumers for canceling a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, going from No. 4 to now the No. 2 factor, according to a survey by the NDP group[ii]. With increasing inflation and multiple streaming services competing for the same limited share-of-wallet, streaming companies are betting on differentiated content for different regions as a growth strategy.
With consumers warier about costs, it might not be surprising that NPD found promos and free trials are playing a bigger role in driving SVOD sign-ups as of April. During the survey period, the top reason people cited for signing up for an SVOD service was that it offered a free trial. Promos and discounts also have a greater influence on where consumers prefer to sign-up, such as direct from a provider. It jumped four spots since October, with discounts and promos now cited as the No. 1 reason driving users’ preferred signup method among viewers who are extremely or very likely to subscribe to an SVOD service in the next six months. These free trials are mostly offered in partnerships with mobile carriers like AT&T and Verizon. According to MoffettNathanson[iii], this has helped Peacock and Paramount+ gain healthy traction in the US. Peacock penetration reached 23% in the first quarter of 2022, putting it in the range of popular Disney+, which was at 26%, and above HBO Max, which stood at 19% penetration after growing 185 basis points.
Pruning costs and new revenue streams
Streaming services have, however, started to become more prudent about content and marketing costs in recent times, with user growth slowing down. Netflix is beginning to push “paid sharing” subscriptions, a euphemism for charging extra to those people who now share a single Netflix password with family or friends. Lower-cost streaming subscriptions with commercials have been popular for Hulu and HBO Max. Netflix will enter the fray with a cheaper ad-supported tier later this year in partnership with Microsoft.
Regional content investments steady
Amazon Prime Video is taking a cue from Netflix’s success by launching regional content for Southeast Asia’s biggest markets – Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines[iv]. While Amazon Prime has been available in these markets since 2016, this is the first time the markets will see a slew of local productions coming to Amazon Prime. To promote the new offerings, Amazon Prime Video is introducing free one-week trials and promotional subscription prices until December 2023 as part of its relaunch efforts in Indonesia, Thailand, and The Philippines. The discounted subscriptions will cost 59,000 Indonesian rupiahs ($3.98), 149 Thai baht ($4.10), and 149 Philippine pesos ($2.69).
Netflix continues to invest in content for more than 500 million Spanish speakers worldwide. Netflix has updated the productions that shape “Que México se ve,” a collection that brings together Mexican feature films to celebrate the national identity ahead of the National Day of Mexican Cinema on August 15.
Paramount+ plans for 150 international originals by 2025. Disney+ had its MENA launch (the Middle East and North Africa) two months ago and aims to expand to 160+ countries by its fiscal 2023.
While the explosive growth in streaming services may be behind us, the international expansion by these OTT brands until the end of next year will bring in new flavors of content to consumers and new audiences to streaming services, increasingly more discerning about their choices.