Most leading VOD services in Poland have been Polish – for example Player, CDA Premium, or VOD.pl – but the international giant Netflix has seen a major rise in popularity since 2017. VOD users seem to be migrating from Polish services to Netflix and HBO GO, with considerable exceptions like the thriving Player.pl. When it comes to free-of-charge VOD, YouTube is the leading platform by far, followed by the free trials or non-premium versions of platforms like Player and Netflix.
Most VOD users are young adults, but VOD services are increasing in popularity across all age groups. There are some differences in service preference according to gender: Netflix, CDA, and Player are preferred by women, whereas Ipla and HBO GO are preferred by men. The lack of advertising and the quality of available titles are important reasons for users to choose VOD over traditional television. They also care about the smooth functioning of the platforms and the relatively low price for the amount of content available.
VOD platforms are used frequently, no doubt related to the phenomenon of binge-watching – the majority of viewers use VOD services at least several times a week. Monthly subscriptions are by far the most commonly chosen, compared to weekly or pay-per-view deals. Audiences use VOD on various devices – mostly on computers and TVs, but smartphone users are a growing demographic. Netflix is the most multichannel service, watched on televisions, computers, and smartphones alike, whereas Cyfrowy Polsat viewers are the most TV-oriented.
When it comes to original VOD content, most of what Polish people like to watch resembles international tastes (perhaps because there are still few original Polish VOD titles available). Polish audiences have enjoyed acclaimed Netflix Originals, like U.S. show Stranger Things or nature documentary Our Planet, as well as fan-favorites like Vikings, Game of Thrones, or The Walking Dead.
The popularity of video on demand is expected to continue rising rapidly over the next few years. Annual revenues are predicted to reach over 180 million U.S. dollars by 2023. International companies are expected to invest more into VOD in Central and Eastern European countries, and at the same time Polish companies and content creators realize the market’s potential and are continuously developing new material.