SVOD Subscribers Grow in U.S., Europe in Good News for Upcoming Disney, Apple Services


Young audiences are driving growth in demand for subscription video services, with the U.S. market reviving and Europe quickly catching up, a report from Ampere Analysis finds.

In what will be good news for Disney+, Apple TV + and other new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms rolling out in the coming months, consumer demand for SVOD is growing worldwide.

A study published Thursday by London-based Ampere Analysis found subscriber growth across the board for SVOD services, with the U.S. market returning to growth and the less-developed European market making up for lost time.

In the U.S. SVOD subscriber figures had plateaued at just over 70 percent of households between the third quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of last year. But, Ampere found, growth picked up throughout 2018 and through the first three months of 2019. Overall, 80 percent of U.S. internet users now report subscribing to at least one SVOD service, the report found. Only Saudi Arabia, with 86 percent penetration, has a stronger take-up.

The rich European markets, which have traditionally lagged behind the U.S. when it comes to SVOD, are quickly catching up. Ampere found subscriber growth across the board, with only the Netherlands showing no significant increase in market penetration. In the Nordic territories and the U.K., the percentage of internet users reporting at least one SVOD subscription has topped 70 percent. It's is notable that those regions also boast the highest internet penetration in Europe. 

In Spain and Italy, the figures are 68 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Germany, Europe's largest TV market, is inching towards the 60 percent mark, with 59 percent of respondents saying they pay for at least one SVOD service. The major outliner in Europe is France, the only big territory where fewer than half (49 percent) of internet users have a SVOD subscription. Outside of France, Japan is the only major territory in Ampere's report where fewer than half of internet users have signed up to SVOD.

“The growth in SVOD subscribers in both regions (Europe and the U.S.) will come as welcome news, particularly to those looking to enter the market this year such as Disney and Apple as it shows there is still room for growth and the opportunity to take a share of the revenue,” said Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis.

Disney+, the studio's upcoming SVOD service, will launch Nov. 12 in the U.S. and is set to roll out worldwide over the next two years, staring in Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions in the fourth quarter of this year and earl 2020, followed by Eastern Europe and Latin America starting at the end of 2020. Apple TV+ will make its debut in the fall of this year.