How to solve the problem of Content Discovery for Europe

Finding Content on Digital Storefronts

Europe, ever tried to find a needle at Walmart? In terms of streaming, we’ve made it to the entrance, but we don’t have a map to content discovery and could get lost en route…

This winter, SkyShowtime launches in 22 European countries, HBO Max in seven and Paramount+ and Peacock will debut in six. Europe can now enjoy some of that saturated SVoD bingeing that the U.S. has been keeping to itself. The days of having to VPN your way into the private content club to watch epic new releases is about to end. What will this mean for content discovery?

It’s not only the streaming services that we are expecting to see an increase in though, it’s also local content. The Netflix hit ‘Squid Games’ claimed the no.1 spot on the streaming service in 90 countries, and the VP of Content for Asia explained that part of its success was because the most locally authentic shows travel best, this is a part of Netflix’s international strategy (Hollywood Reporter). Well, we say keep that localised content coming our way, please. 

So this is exciting for Europe, right? Not exactly. All of these shiny new services and localised content bring with them major problems in regards to ‘discovery’ amongst these ever-growing content libraries, which could be more of a pain than a gain. How on earth will Europe be able to find their catch-up of the day, with so many fish in the sea? 

 

What changes will we start seeing in order to address the content discovery problem?

Today, European Streaming revenues exceed USD $14 Billion (Hollywood Reporter) with YoY growth forecast at 19% (Business Wire). This growth opportunity is accelerating European expansion through M&A and localising businesses, and it promises to deliver significant experimentation in how content is promoted across digital storefronts. This is adding pressure for streaming services and local Content owners who need their programming to remain visible across the increasingly content-rich, digital storefronts that viewers are navigating. 

A plethora of new platforms are launching with strategies to address the challenge of content ‘discovery’ head-on. In the UK, Sky Glass is making a foothold as an aggregator of all aggregators. Its approach enables customers to browse and watch the world’s most popular SVoDs, with an aggregated search function that’s both voice and remote-controlled. This is an impressive feature that will save its customers from hours of scrolling, it’s a compelling selling point too. The user interface also enables you to continue watching your show even when the season disappears on one service and hops onto another. What will be next in terms of personalisation? Could Europe start seeing the platforms serving up programmes being watched by friends and family?

 

Who is the top dog right now, in terms of market share? 

In 2020, Netflix and Amazon were not to be trifled with, holding a 55% and 19% share of the European SVoD market respectively, across 28 countries (Hollywood Reporter). Although the market share is solid, it’s not guaranteed. We only need to remember how Disney+’s entrance into Europe as a contender against Amazon and Netflix shook up the digital storefronts and changed the status quo. With a very aggressive marketing strategy accompanied by highly-anticipated New Release takeovers, which demanded the most prominent promotional areas, they showed us that there is space in the market and the game is not over yet. Despite the strength of the U.S. SVoDs, more and more battles will be fought locally, with localised content display on popular platforms and digital storefronts becoming a key weapon in the strategy to obtain eyeballs.

The impact that promotional power holds was well demonstrated by Peacock TV with its exclusive coverage of the 2020 Olympics. From Top Carousels to dedicated sport rows, of live and on demand programming Peacock TV knocked out the competition with some incredible artwork and use of well-known athletes across all of the storefronts. The increasingly popular service showed a 31% jump in App downloads during the 17-day event. Their challenge is now in keeping that audience and using the insights they gained in promoting their catalogue across more platforms and digital storefronts.

 

These guys stand a chance, according to our Vizibility™ metrics

The changes in Content discovery heading to Europe intrigued the team at Looper Insights who ‘ran the numbers’ for October using Vizibility™ metrics on who was winning in Share of Voice and the value of their digital storefront promotion across six popular platforms in France and Germany (PlayStation 4, Fire TV Cube, Sky Q, LG TV, Samsung TV and Freebox TV). Each Vizibility™ score is calculated from the frequency and placement value of an SVoD or specific title across the tracked platforms. So where are we spending our streaming hours? The winners are…

Vizibility Score for Germany - Prime Video Wins
Vizibility Score for France - Prime Video Wins

What the team at Looper Insights have learned is that SVoD popularity changes fast in line with what we’re watching. With new SVoDs heading over the Atlantic we are expecting some big changes. Who’s going to get creative and who’s going to crumble under the pressure once they arrive? 

Our bets are behind the technology companies that own the major platforms hosting our content, such as Amazon and Apple. But we’re willing to be proved wrong. Let’s get back to finding that needle…

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