The State of Media and Entertainment Streaming Video

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It’s perhaps the least remarkable fact about the European streaming media space that it continues to grow apace. Taking October 2010 as a sample, viewing figures in Germany published by comScore showed 44,000 unique views of more than 8 billion videos, averaging more than 1,000 minutes per user. U.K. audiences came in a close second, consuming 6.3 billion videos, averaging 964 minutes per user. 

In France the figures were 5.4 billion videos watched online and 40,000 unique views, while Spain had 19.2 unique views in October, nearly 3 billion videos, and an average of 971 minutes per viewer. These figures are about double the average in the same period a year ago.

Unsurprisingly, YouTube tops the list of video websites across the board, but each region tends to have a secondary popular online video service. In the U.K. it’s the BBC iPlayer; in Germany it’s VEVO and the sites of broadcaster ProSiebenSat1, while in France and Spain, viewers gravitate to Dailymotion and Facebook.

Dynamic U.K. Media

Most observers, including ioko’s vice president of media solutions, Fearghal Kelly, view the U.K. as Europe’s most innovative media market. “The U.K. continues to lead the rest of Europe thanks to the dynamism and highly competitive nature of its media market,” he says.

In its 2010 report, U.K. regulator Ofcom stated that U.K. consumers are among the best connected for broadband and digital TV services including high-definition (HD), personal video recorders (PVRs), and over-the-top (OTT). The U.K., along with Spain, led the way in Europe with digital TV take-up at 91% less than 2 years before analogue switched off. Just less than a quarter of U.K. consumers claimed to watch online video every week, rising to 45% when asked whether they had ever accessed TV content on the internet. These stats beat even the U.S. into second place with 22%. 

U.K. consumers might not believe it, but Ofcom also found that the country compared favourably in price for communications services. Across landline phone, mobile phone, and broadband, the U.K. was cheaper than France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the U.S., but when you add in pay TV, U.K. pricing rises higher than all those markets. 

IP-Enabled TV

The anticipated introduction of Apple TV and Google TV this year has got European marketers, broadcasters, and producers scrambling to understand the commercial and creative implications of connected TV (CTV) platforms. These heavyweight entrants will excite a market already containing web TVs from Samsung, LG, and Sony; IP-enabled Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 consoles; and hybrid services from terrestrial broadcasters in France and Germany using the HbbTV platform. 

In the U.K., Virgin Media’s recent launch on TiVo makes it a direct competitor to BSkyB’s Sky Anytime+, which rolled out in October, and terrestrial broadcaster-backed IPTV service YouView (previously Project Canvas), which will debut in the spring.

Sony Europe also announced the European launch of video on demand (VOD) powered by its Qriocity content distribution system in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. The HD pay-per-view movie streaming service works with Sony 2010 network-enabled BRAVIA TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, and Blu-ray Disc home theatre systems.

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The highly anticipated YouView is set to launch in spring 2011. In addition to content from partners like BBC, Channel 4, and Talk Talk, it’s designed to allow content owners and brands that have previously been priced out a way to gain access to the living room.

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