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Summit: Studios Face Challenges Bowing Branded SVOD Services

20 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Disney’s pending foray into consumer-direct distribution of original movies and TV series represents an anomaly in a crowded over-the-top video market dominated by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, according to panelists at the recent third annual Transforming Home Entertainment Summit in London.

With Disney making headlines that it would end distributing original movies through Netflix when its landmark license agreement with the SVOD pioneer ends next year, panelists contend few studios have the brand prowess to go OTT solo.

Lionsgate-owned Starz in 2015 launched a branded SVOD service in Saudu Arabia featuring download functionality for original movies and TV shows.  Viacom International Media Networks next month is debuting a branded Paramount OTT video service in the Nordics.

“It will be a very interesting test if someone outside of Disney and HBO, which have two very distinct brands, can actually succeed in that space,” said Mark Kirby, director of commercial partnerships for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Indeed, HBO followed Netflix rolling out SVOD service in Scandinavia in 2012. Together with Viaplay (launched in 2011), the three services control 20% of the European SVOD market, according to Dataxis Research. Average monthly revenue per Nordic SVOD subscriber ($10.6) is higher than any other European country.

Simon Homent, European content director with Rokuten TV, said consumers won’t subscribe to myriad SVOD services, regardless of the brand.

“If they’re going to take Netflix and Disney, or Netflix and HBO, or some kind of combination like that, I think consumers are not going to sign up to each studio’s SVOD service,” Homent said.

Vince Petersen, director of partnerships with Love Nature International, oversees Love Nature’s SVOD targeting consumers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.

Petersen said diversity among SVOD services may seem appealing to studios seeking direct relationships with consumers. But too many service options will fragment the market.

“Consumers want the content that they want from the same platform without having to change and without having to invest more money every single time,” Petersen said. “You read more and more, especially in the U.S., that people realize enough is enough. I don’t want to pay individually for all the different content that is out there.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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