Variety partnered with U.K.-based consultancy Ampere Analysis to delve into the top local and regional ad-supported and pay TV services that are competing with behemoths like Netflix and Amazon. For more, click here.
Germany is Europe’s leading SVOD market, with almost 34 million subscribers, according to Ampere Analysis. While Amazon and Netflix have
built up substantial followings in the country, Joyn Plus is the leading local rival, and it’s doubling down on upscale original local content as a means to close the gap. The platform is so far available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Joyn Plus is the pay tier of ad-supported streamer Joyn, a joint venture between German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery. The Joyn platform launched just over a year ago, introducing Joyn Plus in November and recently folding ProSiebenSat.1’s existing SVOD platform Maxdome into the service.
Despite the strength of the global players, and with Disney Plus joining the fray in March, Joyn CEO Alexandar Vassilev, who worked at Google for a decade, says the market is big enough for everyone. “Streaming is not a winner-takes-all business,” he says. “There is room for a strong local player [if it offers] great content and an excellent user experience.”
A major point of difference for the service from global streamers is that it offers 60 live TV channels that are mostly local, but that also include international brands such as Nickelodeon. Live TV represents 47% of consumer activity on the platform.
“A consolidation of different entertainment offerings in one app and under one roof was something that many people were looking for,” Vassilev explains. Joyn Plus costs 6.99 euros ($8.09) per month, the same price as Disney Plus; Netflix costs 7.99 euros monthly.
Joyn also benefits from content via deals struck by its corporate parents, with much of that programming having proved its worth on other platforms, says Oliver Berben, who heads television and digital at Constantin, producer of hit dating show “M.O.M.” The live-TV channels mean “the user has a wide range [of content] to choose from and is less likely to migrate to other providers,” he says. In Germany, customers still prefer to view some content linearly, such as sports and news, he notes, and they are increasingly consuming their content online, with no fixed TV connection.
Two-thirds of the content on Joyn Plus is German. Local versions of Amazon and Netflix have 9% and 4% German content, respectively. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Netflix scored a global hit with science-fiction show “Dark,” the streamer’s inaugural German series.
There is a growing demand for content that “creates a sense of belonging,” Vassilev says. “We are a local provider that’s mainly characterized by local productions.”
Indeed, originals are an important part of Joyn’s strategy.
“We set ourselves high goals,” Vassilev explains. “We want to be unique, set topics of conversation and give new talent a platform.”
At launch, Joyn’s originals included comedies “Jerks,” “Die Läusemutter” and “Singles’ Diaries.” Crime series “23 Morde” and comedy “Frau Jordan Stellt Gleich” (“Ms. Jordan Is Equal”) — which picked up a German Television Award nomination this year — quickly followed. In May, the platform launched “M.O.M” as its first reality show.
Joyn Plus, meanwhile, has its own originals, such as “Dignity,” Joyn’s first international co-production, about a notorious real-life German cult in Chile, on which it teamed with the Chilean broadcaster Mega; and German Television Award nominee “MaPa,” a bittersweet comedy about a single dad bringing up a baby on his own after the death of his girlfriend. Berlin regional broadcaster RBB co-produced.
The SVOD offering also features exclusives from Europe, such as Dutch crime drama “Mocro Maffia” and Spanish romantic thriller “The Pier,” from “Money Heist” showrunner Álex Pina. Berben says Joyn Plus mainly acquires shows that have “a broad appeal,” although it occasionally picks up “niche prestige shows that create loyal subscribers.”
Subscriber figures for Joyn Plus haven’t been revealed, but Joyn itself has around 4 million unique users a month and 7.3 million active users a month. The app has been downloaded 10.4 million times.