Advanced Television

Report: UK still largest audiovisual market in Europe

October 10, 2019

The UK is still the dominant player in the broadcast content and services market even as Brexit approaches. In fact the Office of National Statistics reveals the booming film and TV production sector made a significant contribution to the UK narrowly avoiding going into recession in the third quarter.

The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has published a new report entitled Audiovisual media services in Europe: Market insights. Based on data analyses of 2018* data from the MAVISE database, this publication provides an overview of the European audiovisual media landscape from three different perspectives.

The first focuses on the supply of audiovisual media services in Europe, presenting figures for television and on-demand services available and established in the European markets. The second perspective looks at the access and distribution of AV services in Europe, noting the dominance of pay business models in the sector. The third perspective highlights the growing footprint of targeting audiovisual media services in Europe that serve non-domestic markets.


The United Kingdom is still the largest audiovisual market in greater Europe

  • The UK was still by and large the most prominent audiovisual market in wider Europe with 230 TV channels and 201 pay-on-demand services established in the country, many of which were targeting other European audiovisual markets.
  • The UK was also found to be the biggest contributor to the overall audiovisual services supply in the EU28. Around one quarter of all TV channels (28 per cent) and pay-on-demand- services (24 per cent) were established there.
  • At the end of 2018, there were 11,123 TV channels available in Europe. Of these 5,039 were local TV channels. Further, there were 2,917 on-demand services available in Europe including services established outside of Europe which target the European markets; these comprised
    1 624 catch-up TV services, 1 081 pay-on-demand services and 212 free on-demand services.
  • There were 5,880 TV channels established in Europe (excluding local channels) at the end of 2018. Of these 4,470 were based in the EU28. European regulatory authorities issued 4,838 TV broadcasting licences (excluding local licences). Of these 3,555 were issued in the EU28. Of the TV channels established in Europe 8 per cent were publicly owned while 91 per cent belonged to a private company and 1 per cent had a mixed ownership (similar figures for the EU28); around 28 per cent of TV channels were available in HD format and the same percentage had a catch-up TV service on offer; around 4 per cent of TV channels had a time-shifted version (identical figures for the EU28).
  • Of the 968 pay-on-demand services established in Europe 853 were based in the EU28; among these, just 2 per cent were owned by public service broadcasting organisations and 1 per cent had a mixed ownership.

Pay business models dominate

  • One out of five television services established in the Europe by 2018 was accessible via DTT (20 per cent), and the rest could be accessed via cable, satellite, or IPTV.
  • Most television channels were pay/or premium services while 41 per cent established in Europe were available free-to-air. The results were similar for the EU28.
  • The dominant business model for pay-on-demand services was SVoD (59 per cent), which came before TVoD (41 per cent).

Growing footprint of audiovisual media services targeting other markets

  • As with television (i.e. Europe n=563; EU28 n=477), the United Kingdom was in 2018 by far the major hub for pay-on-demand services targeting foreign markets with a total of 130 services aimed at other European markets of which 99 were serving the EU28 alone.
  • More than one fifth of all TV channels (21 per cent; n=917) and over a third (36 per cent; n=306) of pay-on-demand services based in the EU28 were specifically targeting other EU28 markets. In Europe 19 per cent (n=1136) of TV channels and 43 per cent (n=413) of pay-on-demand services were serving non-domestic markets. They were predominantly owned by large broadcasting and entertainment corporations, the majority of which are of American origin.
  • The UK, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg accounted for 69 per cent of all TV channels targeting other EU28 markets, and so were 75 per cent of pay-on-demand services based in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands.

*The data is from 2018 and the number of channels located in the UK that are aimed abroad is expected to fall as Brexit means they will not sustain ‘country of origin’ status for the broadcast licenses in other EU countries.


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