Amazon Tops Netflix in Germany as VOD Booms

Wanted Amazon German Series
Courtesy of Amazon Germany

A new study expects the German VOD market to be worth more than $1 billion in five years.

After a slow start, video-on-demand (VOD) services are booming in Germany, Europe's number one television market, with, surprisingly, Amazon, not Netflix, leading the charge.

A new study of the German VOD market, including subscription and transactional VOD services, by German research group Goldmedia found that Amazon was the German champion with a 32 percent share of the market, compared with 17 percent for Netflix.

The VOD offering from Sky Deutschland, a German pay TV operator that is part of Sky, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, ranks third with 12 percent of the market, followed by Maxdome, which is owned by local broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, with 11 percent and Google Play with 10 percent.

Amazon has had first-mover advantage in Germany, having launched ahead of Netflix, which first bowed in the country in 2014. But the figures from the Goldmedia report suggest Netflix is quickly catching up.

Both Amazon and Netflix have commissioned German-language TV series for their local services, with Amazon greenlighting the drama Wanted from German star Matthias Schweighofer and Netflix backing the supernatural drama Dark from Swiss director Baran bo Odar (Who Am I?).

The booming German streaming market has been a rising tide lifting all boats, however, with Goldmedia estimating that 24 million German users paid for a service over the past year, more than double the number from a year earlier. The group estimates VOD revenue hit $471 million (€423 million) in 2015 and will top $1.1 billion (€990 million) by 2021.

Goldmedia predicts subscription-based models, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, will grow faster than so-called transactional VOD services, where users pay per title, but that both forms will show strong growth.

“Our analysis shows that young users under 30 are the strongest drivers of VOD growth, and they clearly prefer subscription-based models,” said Goldmedia managing director Andre Wiegand.

He noted that the German streaming market has the potential to grow even faster as mobile phone carriers begin to offer bigger, cheaper data plans allowing people to easily stream video on the go.