French Regulation Holds Back OTT Market

19 Nov 2013

The French market has many of the necessary ingredients for a vibrant and growing OTT market: high broadband penetration rates, pay TV operators that are active in multiscreen and OTT video, and increasingly important, good prospects for mobile data. Regulatory hurdles, like France’s relatively strict Chronology of Media, or content windowing legislation (which impacts subscription VOD services), puts a damper on the growth of many OTT movie services.

Senior Analyst Michael Inouye commented, “In relatively strong OTT markets like North America SVOD services like Netflix are significant revenue contributors to the overall market segment. France’s strict content windowing for SVOD, however, creates a challenging environment to replicate similar successes.”

Despite these challenges online video services like Dailymotion (owned by Orange) and YouTube remain strong players along with offerings from broadcasters and pay TV operators like Canal+ Group, TF1 Group, France Tlvisions, and M6 Group. The strong penetration rate and competitive environment around IPTV video services in France have led to deployment of highly advanced set-top boxes, which contributes to content habits extending beyond linear programming. However, operator-owned multiscreen services are still developing at a slower pace than the US or UK markets, as operators struggle to offer catch up TV, video on demand and live TV to devices like tablets and select connected CE devices like game consoles.

Practice Director Sam Rosen added, “The French OTT market has seen earlier and more significant developments from broadcasters and less from Pay TV operators, compared to the US and UK markets. Independent OTT platforms, including Videofutur, could be augmented by international offerings if companies like Netflix and Amazon enter the market. If content windows remain an issue, original programming could become a differentiator for OTT subscription services to keep content fresh and viewers engaged. For instance, new programming like Amazon’s just released Alpha House and Netflix’s partnership with Disney to produce original Marvel programming could attract viewers while respecting content windowing legislation.”

These findings are part of the ABI Research service: OTT and Multi-screen Services .

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