In their latest “State of Streaming” report, streaming media intelligence firm Conviva reports that Europe saw a 20% increase in streaming viewership during the fourth quarter of 2021. Southern and Western Europe led the way with 44% and 34% increases respectively. These numbers were significantly higher in comparison to the international streaming market on the whole which only saw a 7% increase year-over-year.
“Like many other regions, Europe is not only holding onto the significant increase in streaming adoption it saw during the pandemic,” Conviva president and CEO Keith Zubchevich said, “but also continues to experience quarter-over-quarter growth as the pandemic begins to fade.”
This data explains why a variety of streaming services have been expanding and increasing investments in Europe. Earlier this month, HBO Max added 15 more European countries which is expected to be just one of many changes in the market moving forward.
One of the reasons that streamers are looking to broaden their reach beyond the United States is that for the well-established services, especially Netflix, the domestic subscriber base is beginning to approach a saturation point. While platforms can look to crack down on things like password sharing in an effort to add subscriptions in the U.S., the more profitable and long-term solution is to expand globally.
Of the 8.28 million subscribers that Netflix added in Q4 2021, 7.09 million came from outside of the United States and Canada.
“As the streaming market in Europe matures and viewers have more content choices,” Zubchevich said, “more freedom to decide how to view that content across various devices, and more options between paid or ad-supported channels, the need for continuous measurement and accurate engagement data is imperative.”
While onlookers — especially those on Wall Street — are suspicious of Paramount’s major investment in streaming, CEO Bob Bakish has long touted the company’s expansive existing international reach due to their collection of broadcast networks and movie studios around the world. Bakish believes that having those resources already available to pump content into Paramount+ will allow them to scale up their offerings around the world. As of last September, Paramount had 900 series in the works around the world.
“We’re creating content across five continents. We absolutely have a global content strategy for Paramount Plus,” Bakish said last fall. “We’re going to use Paramount+ to distribute our content globally. It really is about entertainment content outside of the U.S. In the U.S., it’s ‘News, Sports, and a Mountain of Entertainment’. (Internationally), we don’t have the same assets in news and sports as the U.S., so the global push is really entertainment.”
As more and more streaming services look to expand beyond America’s borders, international markets will continue to be areas ripe for expansion, and based on Conviva’s data, it looks like there are plenty of areas for expansion for streamers.