CZECH TV COMPANIES WANT TO COMPETE WITH NETFLIX, THEY ARE INVESTING IN VIDEO LIBRARIES

2. 11. 2021
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Number one and number two of the Czech commercial TV market invest in paid streaming services. Nova’s strategic priority is its video library Voyo. Prima will come with a competitive project within several months.

In the upcoming months, the Czech Republic will witness the launch of paid on-line video libraries inspired by the success of Netflix in Western countries. The largest local TV group, Nova, plans investments of several billion crowns in its Voyo video library. TV number two, Prima, also wants to compete for viewers. Prima’s CEO Marek Singer said that to HN in an interview.

The pandemic has shown to TV companies that there are people willing to pay for films and TV series in the Czech Republic. The two leading TV companies have their ad space nearly sold out and online video applications may be another place for commercial spots or may generate additional income from subscribers. Other similar projects are going to enter the Czech market next year, such as HBO Max that will be a follow-up to the popular HBO Go, or Disney+.

Netflix, the pioneer of streaming services available in the Czech Republic since 2016, has been unprecedentedly successful. Last year, the number of paying users rose globally by 37 million to 204 million and another 10 million have been added this year. The company’s sales grew by nearly a quarter last year. Netflix does not show the number of Czech subscribers but according to the estimate by a specialised website, Comparitech.com, there were 460 thousand subscribers at the end of September.

Number two on the Czech TV market, Prima, also wants to come with a new service through which viewers will be able to watch series and films for a subscription fee.

“The increased interest in Netflix we saw during the Covid period triggered interest in all markets. There is a mass demand for video libraries of this type and it makes sense to invest in them,” explains Prima’s CEO Marek Singer. The group has been operating an online video library iPrima, which is free of charge, only ad-free content is paid. Prima is preparing a video library similar to Voyo, which is a strategic project of Nova, Prima’s competitor.

Prima could launch the new service within months in Singer’s opinion. The service is likely to have two price schemes - an ad-free, more expensive one and the other one that will include some ads and will be cheaper. Similar to Nova, Prima wants to support the project through cooperation with a telecommunication operator. Since last year, Nova has been a member of the PPF group which owns the operator O2.

Number one on the commercial market, Nova, has been launching its streaming project Voyo and has ambitious plans. Nova’s CEO Jan Vlček expects that in Czechia and Slovakia there will be one million subscribers within five years and the project has exceeded the growth goals set up for this year. Nova, which does not disclose the number of Voyo’s subscribers, builds its online video library on exclusive local content. The exclusive programmes include a series about the singer Iveta Bartošová or a miniseries about the Czech murderer Roubal. According to Vlček, half of households in Western countries have subscribed to a similar video library while in the Czech Republic it is just one fifth. Voyo’s ambition is to engage up to half of households.

Before the pandemic, TV content producers were hindered by concerns that the Czechs were not willing to pay for TV programmes and films. This is supported by the last year’s study made by media researchers of the Faculty of Media Studies of Masaryk University in Brno. More than half of nearly 4,300 respondents said in the survey that paying for films and series was unnecessary. According to the co-author of the study, Iveta Jansová, about a tenth of respondents used prepaid services such as Netflix, Voyo or HBO Go.

Jansová said to HN that commercial TV companies establish online video libraries to increase the number of viewers. For example, they want to attract younger audiences that were not interested in TV before.

“In addition to other aspects, success of similar platforms relates to the fact that people like having their viewer habits under control. Not all of them are satisfied with pre-defined schedules and they appreciate the opportunity to watch popular content at times they prefer,” explains Iveta Jansová.

Author: Anastasija Kriušenko, Marek Miler

Source: hn.cz