The European Audiovisual Observatory publishes a new report on media ownership in Europe
- The study highlights how the SVoD race and the COVID-19 pandemic are boosting an M&A spree throughout Europe
This week, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) has published a new report on media ownership, compiled by Laura Ene and Agnes Schneeberger. The study aims to shed light on the structure of Europe's audiovisual industry in terms of revenues and other performance indicators specific to key audiovisual market segments. It is based on data provided by the EAO's MAVISE database, Ampere Analysis, Glance and the European Metadata Group. The scope of the study covers 40 European countries.
But what are this research's key findings? First of all, we can realise that Europe's top 100 audiovisual companies showed some resilience to the pandemic, since their cumulated operating audiovisual services revenues rose by 7.7% over 2016 at the end 2020. According to the study, this was possible because "not all market segments have been equally impacted" and "players whose business models are primarily based on pay TV and public funding proved more resilient," whilst "those relying on advertising were more severely affected." Moreover, the report indicates that cumulated revenues of the pure SVoD players (Netflix, Amazon and DAZN, no separate data on European operations was available for Apple TV+) grew by four times over the five-year period, accounting for 7% of the top 100's cumulated revenues at the end of 2020.
A second key finding suggests that M&A activity has been pushed up by the streaming race and the pandemic. More specifically, consolidations helped bolster the top 100 companies' revenues and these followed different rationales, namely "obtaining more, premium content at competitive prices, seeking to pair that content with strong distribution, or just eyeing access to new markets."
Moreover, the study demonstrates that the geo-economic scenario has changed dramatically. In particular, the weight of US interests in top 100 revenues has significantly increased (by +4% up to 31% in 2020) owing to the rise of the pure SVoD players. US-backed audiovisual players in Europe stand out in the private sector, where they account for 44% of the main players' revenues at the end of 2020, whilst two thirds of the US share were accounted for by Sky, Netflix, Amazon and DAZN. Nonetheless, US interests are less significant in terms of TV audience, accounting for just 11% of viewing time. The report highlights, however, that US-based groups "have managed to roll-out a large range of thematic channels and catalogues all over Europe, which is reflected in a comparatively higher share by number of TV channels (19%) and on-demand services (25%) operated in Europe." Currently, Discovery, Sky, ViacomCBS and Disney are the top four players operating in our continent by number of TV channels.
The study also indicates that "the top 100 companies in Europe by operating audiovisual revenues are heterogeneous in terms of their portfolio of activities." Besides, "even if top players tend to be active in several market segments, most appear to be driven by one leading activity," with the highest-ranking ones usually holding a strong position in at least one additional activity. Meanwhile, broadcasters and TV packagers are attempting to diversify into TV production, probably in response "to the threat of on-demand over-the-top services."
In addition, SVoD emerges "as the most concentrated audiovisual market segment in Europe, followed by pay TV with 72% of subscriptions cumulated by the top 20 pay-TV operators." "Even if under-represented in terms of volume (9% of TV channels and 3% of ODAS), PSBs accounted for one third of global viewing consumption in Europe and almost all of them were offering at least one on-demand service at the end of 2020," the reports explains.
Finally, the top 10 European groups by operating audiovisual services revenues (2020 figures) is as follows: Sky (€16.279 billion), ARD (€6.527 billion), Netflix (€6.152 billion), RTL Group (€6.017 billion), BBC (€5.674 billion), Groupe Canal Plus (€5.498 billion), ProSiebenSat.1 Media (€4.047 billion), The Walt Disney Company (€4.047 billion), Discovery (€3.167 billion), ITV (€3.126 billion) and France Télévisions (€3.048 billion).
You can access the full report by clicking here.
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