Across the EU4, pay-TV is proving resilient in the face of fast growing Netflix (with Amazon trailing), confirming the catalysts of cord-cutting in the US are not present on this side of the Atlantic. Domestic SVOD has little traction so far.

France's pay-TV market seems likely to see consolidation. Meanwhile, Germany's OTT sector is ebullient, with incumbents bringing an array of new or enhanced offers to market.

Italy has been left with a sole major pay-TV platform—Sky—following Mediaset's withdrawal, while Spain's providers, by and large, are enjoying continued growth in subscriptions driven by converged bundles and discounts.

The UK continues to lead the EU5 in take-up and consumption of video-on-demand services, with close cultural alignment and a historic williness to pay for TV content making it a receptive home for US SVODs

Netflix dominates in most markets, benefiting from high-profile US imports and big-budget local productions. Local SVODs are struggling, with those operated by FTA broadcasters facing considerable challenges

Collaboration between local broadcasters and pay-TV platforms is essential if they are to hold at bay the threat of Netflix and co., with an increasingly favourable regulatory environment opening the door for unprecedented collaboration

Across Europe, markets are becoming more competitive. Incumbent pay-TV paltforms (e.g. Sky or Canal+) face increasing threats from both internet-based services (e.g. Netflix and Amazon), and telecoms operators

Telecoms providers are proving the most potent challengers as they enter the premium football rights market to create attractive triple and quad play bundles – examples include BT, SFR and Telefónica. The latter is now the main pay-TV operator in Spain whereas France’s Canal+ has entered into a strategic alliance with Orange

Across the top five markets (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy), Sky remains the leading operator with an estimated 21.5m video subscribers, twice as many as Netflix

 

The US scripted content boom is spilling over into Europe: Free-to-air TV drama ratings have proven resilient but as costs and audience expectations have risen budgets are under pressure, necessitating flexible co-financing arrangements with American broadcasters, and Netflix and Amazon. Pay channels have boosted output—with uneven results

Long-term IP control is a key factor behind independent production consolidation, led by broadcasters seeking a secure stream of content and diversification away from advertising

Notable developments include the new wave of Berlin-based, internationally-financed series, the rise of domestic French content and Sky Italia’s edgy originals, Telefónica’s giant leap into Spanish dramas, and the continuation of Britain as an export powerhouse

Declining broadcast viewing to the TV set among younger demographics, fragmentation of video viewing across screens, the lack of robust measurement of viewing across screens and the development of online video advertising technology are altering the European TV landscape

Programmatic TV is at an early stage, but has shown its potential with increased audience targeting options and campaign automation: the roll-out of programmatic models and ad technology for European TV advertising have already prompted advertisers to see TV in new ways, beyond its core strengths in mass brand advertising

Automated ad technology can support the existing linear broadcast ad infrastructure; in addition we project a combined potential for annual increased TV ad revenue of €220-300m by 2018 in the seven markets of the study, driven by new advertiser spend on addressable TV advertising and programmatic broadcaster OTT

Advancing its free-to-air TV project, France’s Canal+ is to buy Bolloré TV’s national channels for €465 million to gain (scarce) licences for FTA terrestrial broadcast

Canal+ plans to leverage its library of original programming to attract upscale audiences, neglected by commercial rivals

However, the Vivendi investment case of a 9% return on capital is built on incompatible assumptions about profit margins and market share – to grow the latter in a mature market, a channel needs to sacrifice the former

The digital transition is almost complete in France, five years after the launch of DTT. After undergoing an audience share decline, TF1's share is stabilising. In contrast, M6 improved its audience share during the transition. Both groups are likely to remain dominant in the FTA TV market, thanks to the partial withdrawal of public TV from advertising sales

The advertising recovery in 2010 was strong. Thanks to its diversification, M6 is less exposed to the cycle than TF1, which is rebounding more strongly. M6 is also structurally more profitable

Pay-TV platform growth has stalled, with subscription decline at Canal+ somewhat balanced by growth of low cost packages of IPTV providers. Canal+ will benefit from the withdrawal of Orange from premium TV and a new distribution deal with Orange. Combined with the roll out of new set-tops with PVRs, we are moderately optimistic on Canal+ prospects

To encourage investors, TF1 announced continued diversification of group revenues from reliance on the flagship TF1 channel, and an increase in group Ebitda from 16% in 2007 to 20% in ‘4-5 years’. Accelerating audience share decline at the TF1 channel indicates that new programming is also urgently required to maintain TF1’s ‘premium’ for advertisers

After two quarters that have fallen short of earlier guidance, TF1 Q3 results have at last met more subdued investor expectations of marginal growth in flagship TF1 channel advertising revenues in a total market expected to increase by about 4.5% in 2007, chiefly due to digital growth

TF1, France’s leading free-to-air (FTA) terrestrial broadcaster, has repositioned its channel assets in order to better exploit rapid growth of digital TV, now taken by 44% of households