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Nearly Half of France's Internet Users Tune to OTT Video

Paid subscription uptake rising as streaming video use becomes commonplace

May 16, 2017

Over-the-top (OTT) video service usage has made steady progress in becoming a mainstream activity in France. This year, nearly half of the country’s internet users (49.7%) and 38.7% of the overall population will access streaming video services at least once a month, according to eMarketer’s most recent forecast of digital video usage in France.

Unsurprisingly, like for most newer digital behaviors, France’s OTT video audience will be relatively young. More than half (55.4%) will be under the age of 35, with viewers ages 18 to 34 the largest segment, representing 37.2% of users. Conversely, seniors ages 65 and older, a cohort still largely wedded to live broadcast TV, will make up just 5.0% of France’s OTT video viewers this year.

Collectively, the country’s OTT viewer base will skew slightly female, representing 51.3% of the total, eMarketer estimates.

Most users will access free OTT video services, but many will also pay to access OTT video content. More than one-third of France’s OTT video service users (35.9%) will use an OTT subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service like Netflix, eMarketer predicts, a share equal to 9.3 million people. The SVOD user total will pass 10 million in 2018 as the percentage of France’s internet users accessing subscription OTT video services nears 20%.

Subscription Over-the-Top (OTT) Video Service Users in France, 2016-2021 (millions, % change and % of internet users)

The arrival of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has helped to bolster France’s SVOD market, and these international giants now compete with homegrown competitors such as CanalPlay and Zive. Clearly, viewers in France are not averse to English-only content—but at the same time, all major SVOD providers are aiming to expand their French-language offerings.

“In many respects, the development of France’s digital video culture has followed a pattern seen in the US, the UK and other Western European countries,” said Karin von Abrams, eMarketer principal analyst. “Free video such as streamed or downloaded catch-up TV from national broadcasters, and clips on YouTube, are the most widely available items, and the most popular overall. But subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have set their sights on the potentially lucrative French market and have already signed up millions of fans. As paid-for offerings improve, subscriber numbers will continue to rise steadily.”

—Sheelagh Doyle

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