Austria’s Small Market Dominated by Foreign Players

In Austria, the VOD market was slow to develop, due in part to the dominant position of pubcaster giant ORF, which was reticent in embracing the possibilities of live streaming or offering online access to its vast film library.

Nevertheless, big foreign players, including Sky, Germany’s Maxdome, Apple and Xbox Video, have pounced and are already carving up Austria’s modest market.

According to research group IHS Screen Digest, Austria’s online movie market has plenty of potential. In 2012, Austria’s online movie market was valued at more than $9.6 million, although it remained “transaction-centric” with over 99% of digital movie revenues stemming from transactional services. The following year, business reached $15.1 million.

Xbox Video was the first international VOD service in Austria, where it began operation in 2009.

News Corp’s Sky Austria, which had about 320,000 subscribers at the end of 2013, hopes to garner additional business from subscribers and non-subscribers alike with its new subscription VOD Snap portal, which launched in December.

Like Sky’s German service, Snap offers access to its vast online video library, which includes titles such as “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man 2” and “Boardwalk Empire,” for a monthly all-inclusive fee of €9.90 ($13.66) or €4.90 ($6.72) for Sky pay TV subs.

Netflix has long been rumoured to be eyeing an entry into Germany and possibly Austria.

Another relatively new on-demand player in Austria is German media giant ProSiebenSat.1, which launched its Maxdome transactional and subscription SVOD service in Austria in September. Maxdome boasts more than 50,000 titles, including pics like “Riddick,” “World War Z,” “Prisoners,” “R.E.D. 2” and “Elysium,” as well as such shows as “Elementary,” “The Americans,” Sleepy Hollow” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Its prices range between 67¢ and $8.23 for single video rentals or a monthly flat rate of $20.60.

Operating on a smaller scale, Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Austria said in February that its VOD service saw 5.5 million sessions ordered last year, surpassing 2012’s count by some 45% or 1.7 million views. UPC Austria currently offers over 7,000 on-demand titles, with almost half being available free of charge.

The country’s main homegrown VOD service is Vienna-based Flimmit, which focuses on Austrian and German pics as well as festival and independent titles.

Launched with only 160 titles in 2009, the service currently offers more than 1,800 films and series.

As a member of the EuroVoD network, Flimmit has the advantage of participating in a rights acquisition pool. Created in 2010, EuroVoD is a network of independent European VOD platforms specializing in art-house films and independent cinema that boasts members in 14 countries with more than 10,000 films.

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