Online boosts Russian home video market

The growing presence of online video has given rise to significant advances in the overall Russian home video market, with uptake in digital viewing triggering market forecasts in the region of 1,000 per cent in 2011, according to research from Futuresource Consulting.

“Despite being in embryonic stages of development, digital services are expected to offset declining packaged revenues and provide a much-needed boost to the market,” says Fiona Hoy, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“Consumer appetite for viewing video content online is strong with over 100 billion views expected in 2011, consequently presenting the paid-for online video market as a highly commercial opportunity,” says Hoy,”and our forecasts show that by 2015 the online market is expected to exceed 30 per cent of total home video market revenues, driven primarily by subscription services.”

The overall Russian video market looks fragmented, following a trend similar to more established European markets faced with declining packaged sell-through, with widespread piracy in Russia exacerbating the problem.

Interest in in-home 3D viewing however, is relatively strong, mainly as it is more difficult for pirates to replicate.

“Bundling 3D titles with 3D compatible hardware has proved popular, often accounting for 70 per cent of 3D Blu-ray trade sales,” says Hoy. “3D Blu-ray combo packs are also growing in demand, with consumers prepared to pay a 70 per cent to 100 per cent price-premium.

Theatrical revenues are also playing a part in the current market witnessing 37 per cent growth in 2010, primarily driven by 3D, which is creating a rise in ticket prices and triggering continued investment in cinema complexes moving forwards. The segment is forecast to grow to 2015, albeit at single digit increments.

On-going investment from cable providers has uncovered significant revenue-generating possibilities through increased broadband speed and penetration, with 54 per cent of households expecting to have access by 2015, an increase of nearly 60 per cent from 2011. Additionally, average achieved download speeds gaining pace from 2.9Mbps in 2011 to nearly 10 Mbps by 2015.

Faster broadband speed and connectivity means greater scope for multi-platform use, with many online providers aggressively launching services compatible for download onto connected devices.

“Consumer research indicates that Russian consumers are often reluctant to pay for online content available for free on a laptop or PC, however they are willing to pay for the same content if accessible on a big screen at home,” says Hoy. “This presents a strong opportunity for Hollywood studios to monetise their content through paid-for online video services.

“Leading CE manufacturers have recognised the potentially lucrative opportunity to grow online video revenue using connected devices, by providing direct multi-platform accessibility to online content,” says Hoy,”and given that forecasts for personal devices including smartphones and connected TVs show impressive growth throughout the forecast period, investment in combined online video and multi-platform usage is of high value to manufacturers, content providers and the consumer.”

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