Building an indie VOD sector

A report from Michael Gubbins, of SampoMedia on the future of the European independent VOD sector was launched at the Venice Film Festival.

It was originally commissioned by European VOD platforms and services network EUROVOD at the end of 2019 but took on renewed significance with the Covid lockdown, which created huge demand for online viewing.

While the media headlines concentrated on the major US streaming giants, notably Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, a number of European services made big strides forward.

Steep rises, first in visitor numbers and then transactions and subscriptions, created a sense that the pandemic represented a revolutionary switch in consumer behaviour with some talking of a ”new normal.”

Yet the lockdown came far too quickly for a strategic response, and nothing truly game-changing emerged in terms of technology or business models. Instead the crisis exposed, accentuated and accelerated existing trends – and that makes it far more significant.

The report suggests online platforms and services responded so effectively to the unsought opportunity of the pandemic because they were already prepared for expansion. VOD – in all its forms – has been the fastest growing area of the audiovisual economy for a number of years and had already reached a level of maturity that allowed it to adapt to the needs of industry.

What emerges from the report is a European report is an emerging network of entrepreneurial and ambitious services with a strong desire for collaboration with the physical economy of festivals and cinemas. During the lockdown, they helped keep an effective link between closed theatres and postponed events and audiences.

Significantly, the report offers promising signs that European audiences are willing to be much more adventurous and experimental in their choices than conventional wisdom and business practice might suggest.

The report was written for the EUROVOD network but it should help foster a serious debate about the potential for a diverse, dynamic and sustainable ecosystem in which European talent can much more effectively connect with audiences.

Sampomedia.com will offer more insights from the report and reaction in the coming weeks.

Interested in a workshop on building a sustainable, diverse and dynamic businesses in a changing audience-centred ecosystem? Contact Michael Gubbins, SampoMedia.

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