Over-the-top video is quickly becoming the premiere way that Americans choose to consume their content, but the trend is also quickly spreading across the pond. Europe is seeing a massive growth in OTT programming popularity, driven in no small part by Netflix. Netflix has successfully dominated the US video market and has now set their sights squarely on Europe.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings revealed in a recent interview that the company has invested nearly $1.75 billion in European productions, including licensing programming, production of original content and more. Netflix has close to 90 productions currently in development for their European market.
Given the variety of languages spoken around Europe, Netflix has made a concentrated push to provide their European users with a variety of language options. Users currently can select from 13 different languages, with Romanian and Greek getting added in shortly.
At the same event, Hastings provided his take on the importance of the work that Netflix is doing, saying “[They] are making art successful around the world.” Hastings views OTT providers, like Netflix as the future of television, explaining that thanks to the internet OTT companies have the opportunity “…to reinvent television” by giving viewers greater freedom in when, where and how they watch content and by “giving producers access to global audiences.”
Netflix boasts that their European content is watched by approximately 93 million global subscribers, and they expect that number to shoot past the 100 million milestone within the next few months.
A new report studying European television trends by Rethink Technology Research titled The Rise of Paid OTT quantifies the rising popularity of OTT services in Europe. According to the report, OTT subscriptions in Europe are expected to reach $9.8 billion by 2021; that’s an increase of $4.76 billion over the next five years.
The same Rethink Report found that current projections Netflix’s European growth are way to low. In 2016 Netflix had about 19 million European subscribers; Rethink expects that number to jump to 45 million by 2021.
Whether Rethink’s numbers turn out to be correct, or not, one thing is for sure, Netflix is the dominant OTT service in the world. Europe is the next frontier for now, but OTT services show no signs of slowing in popularity around the world.