Parks: European OTT Consumption Catching Up

Roughly 55% of U.K. broadband households now use an OTT video service, with 51% in France doing the same, showing Western European catching up to the approximately 70% of broadband users in North America who use OTT, according to a new report.

However, while 64% of North American broadband households pay for a subscription service of one sort or another, only 30% and 17% of broadband users in the U.K. and France, respectively, do so, according to a March 29 report from Parks Associates.

“OTT is definitely gaining traction across Europe. We are seeing new OTT video services spring up but not as many as in North America,” said Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates. “In many parts of Europe, pay TV penetration is lower than the U.S., and European consumers have been reluctant to pay for video in the past due to so many ‘free’ options such as the BBC iPlayer. But, as more pay options enter the market, with content unavailable anywhere else, they are slowly changing the culture of video viewing in Europe.”

According to recent research from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB), the United Kingdom’s TV ratings and audience measurement firm, a full quarter of U.K. homes subscribe to at least one of that country’s top three non-pay TV services: Amazon, Netflix or Sky. Parks’ research found much the same: the U.K. remains the top market for OTT and SVOD services in Western Europe.

But while new services are emerging in France (including a new transactional VOD service from retailer FNAC), SVOD services like Netflix, despite partnerships with French pay TV providers — are struggling to gain a foothold there.

As for the U.S., no such problem exists, Sappington said.

“In the U.S. and Canada, the quickly increasing volume of new options is driving high numbers of online viewing of TV and movies,” he added. “Each service is bringing new experiences for consumers, and many are providing new content that is unavailable elsewhere. Consumers are trying and subscribing to more services. We saw a big increase in the number of households subscribing to multiple OTT video services in the U.S. market at the end of 2015.”

For Broadcasting & Cable’s recent report on the U.K. SVOD market, click here.