Cord-cutting spreads across Europe
Ivan Radford | On 13, Aug 2014
Cord-cutting is traditionally a phenomenon that exists in the USA, but now research shows the trend is spreading across Europe.
Pay TV customers are increasingly choosing to cancel subscriptions in favour of “over-the-top” video services, that is services which allow users to determine their own schedule or viewing behaviour, for example Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video.
While this has often been a chiefly American habit, research from IHS (via Digital TV Europe) shows that Pay TV subscribers have declined in 12 European countries in the first quarter of 2014 – specifically, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Poland.
Joining cord-cutters are now “cord-nevers”, who have only ever used online VOD rather than traditional Pay TV. Indeed, the popularity of cutting the proverbial, is certainly on the up: IHS research director of television Guy Bisson says six of the 12 European markets are now recording their second quarter of decline in a row.
“Hardest hit are the Benelux and Scandinavian markets along with some of the smaller Central and Eastern European markets where recent strong growth is now reversing,” says IHS.
“While individual markets like Italy and the Netherlands have had several quarters of decline, a sustained two-consecutive-quarter decline in such a wide-range of markets is a worrying trend for the industry as a whole.”
Nonetheless, while it’s tempting to dub this “the Netflix effect”, IHS notes that it is more likely a wider mix of factors. Indeed, out of the five major European TV markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), only Italy saw cord-cutting increase, despite the presence of Netflix in Britain. Instead, it is likely a combination of causes, including the recent economic downturn, as well as technological advancements.
Do you use VOD instead of Pay TV?