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Netflix seeks partnerships in Eastern Europe

Highlights

Netflix is the first international over-the-top video service that has established significant partnership with pay TV operator in Central Eastern Europe

OTT services launched by operators that also own TV networks or belong to a group including broadcasters are particularly successful

The 15 surveyed markets feature 51 operator-owned OTT services

So far, international over-the-top video services have not significantly expanded their footprints across Eastern Europe markets, as they have not established partnerships with operators, which have successfully introduced their own services. This dynamic began to change in late 2019, with Netflix Inc. starting to seek partnerships.

The 15 surveyed markets feature 51 operator-owned OTT services. Poland leads the pack with seven such services, followed by Russia, Romania and Slovakia with five. These initiatives began as value-added services but now play an important role in operators' portfolios. Particularly successful are those launched by operators that also own TV networks or belong to a group including broadcasters. Access to its own unique and exclusive content was the competitive advantage. Other pay TV operators have introduced their own services in order to catch up with the rising expectations of their subscribers, which is important in highly competitive markets like Poland and highly saturated markets like Romania. Nowadays, all-important MSOs offering triple- or quad-play services have their own dedicated OTT services.

Mobile operators have also joined the race, seeing video content delivery as a necessary part of their offers and as a possible revenue source. This was inevitable in cases of mobile operators that already offered pay TV through different platforms. The constantly rising volume of mobile data transfer also encourages it.

By working with telcos, network-owned OTT platforms gain an upper hand with built-in apps and integrated billing mechanisms over existing fixed or mobile connections. By offering subscribers of partnering operators access to exclusive content, OTT providers are positioned to drive revenue growth from already existing subscribers.

The Netflix deal with Platforma Canal+ is the first significant partnership between the worldwide stand-alone OTT player and a large pay TV operator in Eastern Europe. Starting in November 2019, Poland's second-largest DTH operator has combined its channel packages with those from Netflix.

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