Internationalising SVOD Services: Today’s New Trend?

Dimitar Serafimov | Tue Apr 04 2017 | Industry insights

OTT international

The wonderful world of SVOD is getting bigger and bigger. In fact, it's become such an important part of modern entertainment that it's almost become an international language. So, for many SVOD providers, internationalising their services makes for a challenging yet rewarding concept - and one well worth exploring.

SVOD giants took the first steps

In fact, inspired by Netflix’s launch in January 2016 to 130 new countries, internationalisation has become somewhat of a trend in recent months as other providers follow suit.

A selection of contenders eager to replicate Netflix's capability to distribute premium video content across the globe means that we're looking at a new kind of company in the value chain: the global premium video platform.

WWE Network and HBO Now have notable multi-territory footprints, followed closely by Amazon Prime Video, which carried out a global rollout to around 200 countries last November. And it seems this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even though Amazon is not the best representative of a multi-national service, this chart shows how they envision their growth:

Amazon Prime video goes international Source: Amazon total active registered users by market, 2011–22 (by Ovum)

Sports organizations are following up

The sports industry sees great potential in moving abroad with OTT. Live sports has alway topped viewers minds and broadcast revenues have always been tempting for all organizations in the supply chain. Juventus, one of the Italian football juggernauts is launching an OTT offering for their U.S fanbase.

Restructuring is lined up

According to Ovum, as international expansion takes hold, here’s what we may have in store in 2017, and beyond…

  • Single country broadcasters will find it very difficult to keep their top shows out of the hands of content-hungry OTT licensors swimming in the international market.
  • Pay-TV operators and broadcasters will look to mergers and acquisitions to grow their audiences.
  • Broadcasters and pay-TV providers will continue to struggle against SVOD in competition for rights and talent.
  • Content ownership will become increasingly important due to the competition for rights ownership. The last of the independent production houses will be picked off at premium prices by content-hungry distributors. Original production will remain a key objective for all SVOD providers.

Expanding brings fresh challenges

As you may have already gathered, internationalisation comes with its fair share of challenges. In a nutshell, here’s what they are…

  • Credit card payment (not common in many countries) will be difficult to roll out in different territories.
  • People will begrudge paying what they consider to be expensive subscription fees in comparison to trusted local providers.
  • Little local, dubbed or subtitled content will suffer due to low levels of local distribution partners.

But, especially when you're talking about SVOD, where there's a will, there's a way - and indeed, a solution. As SVOD evolves, internationalisation is inevitable and will allow content providers to expand their reach and boost brand awareness exponentially.

Going international is the future, and those who are prepared to take on the challenge will reap the greatest rewards.

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