By Jonathan Easton
The introduction of big hitters like Disney+ and HBO Max will see subscription VOD services finally emerge as a major force in Eastern Europe.
The region has historically been dominated by local players and traditional linear TV, but Digital TV Research predicts that the injection of major US players will see Eastern Europe follow the west in regards to SVODs.
According to the report, Eastern Europe will have 40 million SVOD subscriptions in 2026, up from 15 million at the end of 2020.
While focus will be placed on Disney+ growing from zero to almost 7 million subscribers in this period of time, this will come as part of a wider trend towards SVODs. Netflix – largely a barometer for a region’s acceptance of SVODs – will more than double its subscriber base from 4.67 million to 12.29 million.
WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is set to launch in the second half of 2021, and the report estimates that it will achieve 1.22 million subs in Eastern Europe by 2026.
A significant amount of this growth will come from Russia, which will add 10 million SVOD subscribers. Netflix in particular will benefit from a partnership with Russia’s National Media Group.
The report also notes that Poland will add 6 million subscribers. Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, Simon Murray said: “There will still be plenty of room for growth beyond our forecast period as only 17 per cent of the region’s TV households will subscribe to at least one SVOD platform by 2026.”