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On-demand is in demand

Why SVoD is the market to watch in 2019

Looking ahead to 2019, it appears that SVoD (subscriber video on demand) is set to experience a massive increase in revenue. Some estimates put that total revenue figure at more than $35 billion. So, clearly, this is market that is going to be a dominant force in the new year. And there has been a flurry of news and research in the last few weeks which also points to the fact that SVOD is attracting attention.

Within the past month, banking group Barclays announced a doubling of its SVoD fund to support UK TV producers. The £100 million fund, which was originally launched in 2017, was a response to the rapidly evolving television production landscape.

In fact, the growth of subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has seen a change in the way that original programming is financed. Barclays explained that conventional production loans are usually repaid as the content is delivered – with the broadcaster paying the production company and funder simultaneously. However, with SVoD, payment from the subscription service is often spread over a much longer term, which can present funding challenges.

Projects to have benefitted from Barclays support include £17.5 million to Drama Republic for the BBC/Netflix co-production Black Earth Rising, financing to Lime Pictures for the Netflix show Free Rein, and funding for a series of Octonauts specials for Silvergate Media.

At the end of November, Netflix announced that it was continuing its investment in European content with the production of new original series from Sweden, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. At the time Erik Barmack, vice president of international originals, stated: “Great stories unite and delight us, no matter where in the world they come from or what language they are in. There will come a time when half of the top ten shows globally won’t be in the English language, and shows with a multinational cast – and often in multiple languages – will become the norm, as long as technology can get the right story in front of the right person in a language they can understand.”

These shows are additional to previously announced projects from Norway and Spain, five new German ventures and seven new French titles, as well as season two of Spanish show Elite, a new co-production in the UK and a collaboration with The Roald Dahl Story Company.

During 2018, Amazon has launched shows in the UK, Germany, France and Spain and other areas of Europe. Its Prime Originals team in Europe is working with the production community to develop and deliver further European produced shows. Some of those plans were announced at a recent Prime Video Presents European showcase event in London. These include the go-ahead for a first season of the live action series adaptation of the successful Bibi & Tina franchise.

In addition, there are projects in Spain with producers such as Boomerang, Atres Studios and the award-winning Tornasol. From Italy comes news of projects with writers such as Leonardo and Maddalena Fassoli, and producers including Lux Vide and Wildside, while in France Amazon is working with producers such as Gaumont, Kwai, producer/writers Carma Pictures and Elza Marpeu, and JD productions and Jean DuJardin.

French audience measurement company, Médiamétrie, recently estimated that 13.6 million French people watch series, films, documentaries or cartoons via an SVoD service. The company’s research revealed that people are both becoming more aware of SVoD and are becoming more avid viewers of these streaming services. Half of French people can now name an SVoD service, up 19-points in just six months, while eight in ten SVoD viewers watch programmes every week. Half of SVoD viewers revealed that they spend between one and two hours per day on these services.

Beyond Europe, Australia is expected to be the first country to see the number of SVoD households overtake those of pay-TV in any market worldwide. 

With all that news and those statistics to hand, it is easy to see that SVoD is the market to watch in 2019.