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Streaming in Times of Corona

With free time options dramatically reduced by Covid-19 restrictions, Germans are turning to streaming providers to help pass the time.

Streaming services on the rise during lockdown

The corona crisis has seen many countries around the world implement a partial or complete lock down of their societies. Germany also took this path – shutting down retailers, bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. This left many Germans scrambling for alternative ways to spend their time. Confined to their homes, the already popular pastime of streaming movies and music has become even more popular. 

Streaming providers report higher demand than expected

This is not only a German trend, but one evident worldwide. Netflix, for example, has reported a global user growth of 15.7 million in Q1/20. This is almost twice the forecast growth of 8.2 million new users. The user base grew by 7 million In the EMEA region, compared to 4.7 million for the same period in 2019. The Swedish music streaming provider Spotify also reports in its quarterly report that it expects to come out stronger from the crisis.

Video streaming subscriptions widely used 

Streaming has clearly been on the rise in Germany for some time. In 2018, consumers used streaming services around 29 percent more than in the previous year. Free video platforms are used by more than 34 percent of Germans, with YouTube – frequented by nearly all of those users – being the most popular platform. More than 31 percent use the media libraries of the TV channels and over 29 percent use subscription streaming, with Netflix and Amazon Prime being the most used services – both enjoying above 19 percent of usage.

Younger demographic groups are particularly interested in these services, with over 65 percent of people under 30 years of age paying for video services. For nearly 56 percent of them, video-on-demand (VoD) services are the primary source of motion picture entertainment. In the 30 to 49 year old age group, 27 percent primarily use VoD, with this figure falling off to seven percent for those over 50 years of age.

Drama is the most popular genre over all platforms, with around 62 percent of viewed content belonging to this category. Comedy is the second most viewed genre at 32 percent. The comedy series ”Big Bang Theory“ was the most viewed content on all platforms in 2019.

Production in Germany makes sense

The European Union has decreed that 30 percent of the content catalogues of streaming providers need to be European productions by 2021. This has led streaming providers to invest substantial amounts into creating content made in the EU. Netflix, for example, produced 141 European “Originals” in 2018 for around EUR 1 billion. This was increased to a planned investment in 221 content productions in 2019.

Apart for streaming productions, 157 theater movies were produced in Germany last year. Almost 39 percent of these were co-produced with foreign studios. Germany offers different public funding options for movie companies in order to facilitate production and support the movie industry as a whole.

Total annual funding tops out at  almost Euro 194 million.

The production studios are clustered in four film hotspots. Berlin is the biggest movie hub with 200 production companies, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 166 production companies, Bavaria with 158 production companies, and Hamburg with 84 production companies.

German market still open for new entrants

More and more companies are choosing to enter the German market in order to take advantage of German receptiveness towards streaming. In November, Apple TV Plus launched their service in Germany. The latest addition to the German streaming market has been Disney Plus which began operations in March. The launch date had been set long before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, but in hindsight, the timing has proved impeccable. The service jumped from zero to 10 percent of subscription buyers using the new streaming provider.

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