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eMarketer Sees Digital Video Growth Leveling Off in Western Europe

The initial surge in digital video viewership has passed

January 16, 2017 | Video

Digital video viewer penetration rates in Western Europe vary across the region, but they are generally strong. eMarketer forecasts that digital video viewers in Western Europe will reach 219.0 million in 2017, representing over half the total population, according to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Digital Video Viewers: eMarketer's Estimates for 2016–2020” (eMarketer PRO customers only).

Digital Video Viewers and Penetration in Western Europe, 2016-2020 (millions, % change and % of internet users)

The two largest markets for digital video viewers will be the UK and Germany, with 42.8 million and 40.4 million viewers, respectively. The UK is a mature market, with nearly two-thirds of the population viewing digital video monthly. Germany's rate is lower, with 50.1% of the population viewing video in 2017.

Germany, France and Spain generally index lower in social media usage compared with the rest of the region, which limits potential exposure to digital video. France and Spain will have 32.2 million and 23.1 million digital video viewers, respectively, in 2017, amounting to a population penetration rate of around 50%.

Consumers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain still tend to be interested in viewing linear TV content. Spain in particular is geared toward free-to-air broadcast programming, with consumers even more likely to have broadband access than pay TV. However, eMarketer expects Spain will have the fastest digital video viewer growth rate in Western Europe in 2017, increasing 4.2%.

According to research firm Parks Associates, Spain has one of the highest internet-only household rates in Europe, implying that consumers there may be more likely to pay for digital video services than they would for pay TV subscriptions. Yomvi, a SVOD service bundled with pay TV provider Movistar+, has seen some traction. In addition, Netflix arrived at the end of 2015, and HBO launched HBO España in November 2016.

Italy will have 25.7 million digital video viewers this year, eMarketer estimates, and the lowest population penetration rate in Western Europe, at 41.4%. This is primarily due to two factors: Italy's more rural character, and internet speeds that are slower than most of the region as a result of low government investment. Italy's population tends to skew older as well.

The Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden—have seen large growth in digital video viewership because of high internet penetration and fast connection speeds. The prevalence of knowing English in these countries correlates heavily with high video viewing, as much of the most popular online video content is in English. Each of these countries will have a roughly 70% penetration rate among internet users for digital video viewing this year. That said, the population in these countries is small and together make up just a fraction of the total digital video viewing audience in Western Europe.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Worldwide Digital Video Viewers: eMarketer's Estimates for 2016–2020.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer PRO customers.

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