A report filed by the European Audiovisual Observatory has revealed that as of February 2014, the number of on-demand services available in Europe has topped 3,000, with the UK, France and Germany providing the highest number of services.
Of the total 3,088 on-demand services now available, the UK leads the way with 682 established services followed by France in second place with 434 services and Germany in third with 330 established services.
The official breakdown of the on-demand services available includes 1,104 catch-up TV services, 711 branded channels of broadcasters on open platforms and 409 VOD film services. There are also 179 branded channels of professionally produced programming available on open platforms such as YouTube and 69 different catch-up television services.
The report also states that there are 241 video on-demand services available in the UK alone, of which 126 are national services and 99 are based in the United States. However, in terms of the origin of the controlling parent company, only 42 of these 241 services are established in the UK and 176 in the US.
A big reason for the increase of on-demand services has come down to the huge expansion of Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Google. Amazon expanded its Amazon Instant Watch SVoD service by acquiring the DVD rental and SVOD service, LOVEFiLM in 2011 and HBO has expanded its offering, increasing its existing presence in Eastern Europe. Although Netflix doesn’t share its viewing figures, they have made public the fact that they have more than 44 million subscribers across 41 different countries.
The report says:
“The sector is growing fast and the number of on-demand audiovisual services available in Europe is rising – driven by rapid consumer adoption and made possible by technological innovations and a shift in consumption habits.”
Earlier this month, research published by Ofcom revealed that 79% of UK viewers are now well aware that it’s possible to watch or download programmes online – a 6% increase compared to last year. The research did also show that awareness declines with age however. It was revealed that just 60% of the over 65s are aware of the possibilities compared to 85% of the 16-24 age range.
It seems that on-demand services have even started to change what people are doing online. Almost four in ten (39%) Internet users said they use the Internet to watch TV programmes online or download from TV broadcasters’ websites. This is compared to 35% in 2012 and is expected to increase once again by the end of 2014.
The increase has been particularly marked among 35-44-year-olds, where viewing of TV/films/video clips has increased by 8% over the last 12 months to 40%.
According to Ofcom’s research, the top three reasons for watching online content are because the viewer missed the program when it was aired live, wanting to catch up at a more suitable time to the viewer and being able to choose something more interesting to watch when there is nothing else on television.