The adoption of SVoD services in France has so far been slower than other major western markets. Consulting firm Ampere Analysis’s comparison of the content catalogues of SVoD players in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US reveals that of the six markets, France has less content and far lower levels of localisation on offer to subscribers. However, the situation has shown marked improvement over the past 12 months, and as a result, Ampere expects the number of SVoD subscribers in France to accelerate in 2018.
Less content, and less ‘made in France’
As of February 2018, French SVoD subscribers had the least number of content options compared to their counterparts in the five other major markets analysed. The catalogue of 6,156 titles is the lowest of the six markets and is dwarfed by the myriad of options presented to UK (15,627 titles), US (33,214 titles) and German customers (14,566 titles).
France is also the country with the highest percentage of US content on its platforms, with shows such as House of Cards and Hand of God, and the lowest levels of locally produced content by the number of hours available.
A new approach to content could be game-changing
Ampere Analysis provides an average rating score for media content. When analysing the top 500 titles in each market, France has, on average, the lowest rated content. These titles are important as they are often the linchpin of the marketing and subscriber acquisition activities of service providers.
Looking beyond the top 500 titles, however, the wider French catalogues offer less niche content, and the quality of their overall catalogue content is of a higher quality than their international counterparts.
Over the last 12 months (March 2017 to February 2018), France has experienced the largest percentage growth in number of titles, with an increase of nearly 60 per cent, proving that SVoD players are investing in this key European market, even though its subscriber base is still weak.
Who holds the key to SVoD expansion in France?
Ampere’s analysis shows a significant difference between the content rankings and catalogue sizes across Amazon’s Prime Video markets. Whilst by comparison, Netflix’s catalogue size and content rankings are relatively consistent across countries, Amazon has a more complicated picture, with smaller Amazon Prime Video markets (such as France) having a higher average rating, but a fraction of the size of catalogue of those of larger markets. Therefore, although the French can watch some of Amazon Prime’s most recent content such as Transparent and Cloak & Dagger (the new series from the Marvel universe available from June), they have little choice on Amazon Prime, second only to Spanish subscribers.
However, it’s not just the big global players that can impact the French SVoD scene. Local operators including Canal Play and SFR Play can look to the examples of NOW TV in the UK, Maxdome in Germany, and Hulu in the US to expand and update their catalogues with high quality content to attract more viewers. These smaller platforms may not be able to compete with giants such as Netflix and Amazon on quantity of content, but they do have the opportunity to add subscribers by offering targeted local content for an audience they understand well.
“Significant progress is being made in the French SVoD marketplace, and operators are set to improve more in 2018 to meet the expectations of subscribers in terms of better choice and quality of content,” advises Hamish McGregor, Analyst at Ampere Analysis. “Further investment by Amazon could make a marked difference to the appeal of SVoD by increasing the amount of content available. Local operators can also differentiate by reducing their dependence on American content by adding ‘Made in France’ content and exclusive titles. There is room for both local and global platforms in this market, and we expect to see subscriber numbers increase throughout 2018 as higher quality and more relevant content becomes available to French audiences.”