French VOD market ‘double'

The French video on demand market may double in value this year, according to a joint study published by research group GfK and French media consultants NPA Conseil. The survey found that there were around six million VOD downloads across all platforms in the first six months of this year, an increase of nearly 61 per cent over the same period of 2007. American films enjoyed the highest VOD growth rate during the first half of this year with an increase of 93 per cent, compared to around 20 per cent for French titles and 53 per cent of other foreign titles. "The growth, especially in (subscription video on demand), has been quite tremendous," said NPA managing consultant Jean-Marie Le Guen. "We think the VOD market could reach perhaps E60 million from E30 million last year."Across three categories – TV dramas, youth-oriented programmes and X-rated films – average download prices increased from $4.85 in the first half of 2007 to $5.60 in the same period of 2008. Cut-rate time-limited VOD offers were also found to be becoming more common, such as a promotion Orange launched this month to subscribers of its 24/24 Video package, which offered a library of 1,000 films available for 24-hour rental at a price of $1.47 each, providing a discount of around two-thirds off the normal price.Movie downloads were found to account for around 66 per cent of the French VOD market. Growth is described as having been fueled by fierce competition between IPTV operators Orange, Free and Neuf Cegetel. All three now offer basic triple-play packages priced at around $44.10 per month.

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