Fresh content is key strategy for SVOD growth in EMEA

pay-TV revenue

A steady stream of fresh content is a key strategy some of the largest subscription video players are using in the battle to gain supremacy in the EMEA market, a new study shows.

Between 14% and 38% of catalogs for Amazon, HBO, Mediaset Infinity, Netflix, Now TV and Viaplay were refreshed over the 12 months ending in June, Ampere Analysis said. Each service also removed between 13% and 21% of their catalogs over the same period.

Fresh content has been seen as a game changer in the industry, driving one of the biggest creative surges ever seen in entertainment and sports video. FX Networks’ annual report said 495 scripted original TV series aired in 2018, up from 487 in 2017. The report suggests that number will top 520 this year, and that’s just English-language content.

Fresh content by the numbers

Amazon drove the biggest refresh, more than one-third (38%) of its catalog. It added a whopping 5,134 new TV show and movie titles to its UK service over the 12-month period, Ampere said. It lost just 1,779 title over the same time frame, seeing its overall catalog grow 25%. During the year, just 62% of its content was left unchanged.

Among the other five services:

  • Viaplay saw 28% of its catalog refresh, while losing about one-fifth (18%) of its titles, a net gain of 10% for the year;
  • Netflix ended the 12-month period with 26% of its catalog new titles. It lost 17% of its catalog in the same period, a net gain of 9%;
  • HBO refreshed 21% of its catalog and lost just 13%, a net gain of 8% for the year;
  • Now TV had a 20% refresh rate and lost 17%. It’s net gain for the year was just 3%; and,
  • Mediaset Infinity – with content that is primarily movies – had a refresh rate of 14%, but saw its catalog shed 21% of its titles. Its net change was -7%, the only one of the six services to end the period with a smaller catalog than it had started with.

Overall, Ampere said, those SVOD services – the six largest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – had an average refresh rate of 26% between June 2018 and June 2019. The also averaged about 6% annual growth in the size of their catalogs.

The bottom line

Adding fresh video content at a regular rate must be part of any SVOD or AVOD strategy because it helps you stay engaged with your customers and – potentially more importantly – to attract and set expectations with your prospective customers.

That doesn’t mean it has to be original content, but it needs to be original to your service… on a regular enough basis that you see a significant catalog refresh on an annual basis.

And, don’t waste it. Make certain you let your customers know it’s coming, perhaps by sharing a regularly updated content calendar on your platform, or via email.

The real bottom line? Marketing that content is crucial. Let your audience know when something is coming, especially if you have viewer data that can help target the right segments of your audience.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn