Online video in Belgium - statistics & facts

Belgium's use of on-demand streaming follows a growth pattern like most European countries, but behind that of neighboring countries Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Online video services such as Netflix seemed especially popular in the Netherlands, with more than 40 percent of households in the country having an SVOD subscription in 2018. This SVOD penetration rate among households reached 26 percent in Belgium that year, which was comparable to Luxembourg. Growth in that country between 2017 and 2018, however, was faster than the increase found in Belgium. Based on the daily active users (DAU), Netflix was used around four times less each day than the YouTube app. Additionally, the use of the Netflix app was not significantly higher than that of the VTM GO app, a video on-demand application from the biggest commercial television station in Dutch-speaking Flanders.

A country divided

Due to domestic political and linguistic structures, Belgium has several domestic media markets that largely follow these internal differences. This is reflected in figures for both SVOD use, as well as the use of online video sharing services. For example, 53 percent of internet users in Belgium used an online video sharing service like YouTube in 2019. In the Brussels Capital-Region (the city of Brussels and its surrounding municipalities, where French tends to be the dominant language), this percentage reached a value of 60. When it comes to services like Netflix, nearly one out of three internet users in Dutch-speaking Flanders reported to use it in 2019, a percentage slightly above that of the French-speaking regions. Most survey data investigate specific regions, not the country. When comparing two local 2019 surveys, the millennial Netflix penetration in Flanders was higher than the general use of online video among millennials in Wallonia.

Language issues?

Of the big international SVOD names, Belgium only had a limited number available in 2020. Disney+, for example, is set to arrive in September 2020. This leaves Amazon Prime Video as a potential big name on the Belgian market. Amazon and its Prime service were available in the past, but it was connected to Germany. Prime was not that popular in Belgium as it did not have domestic support and only changed somewhat when Amazon officially launched in Belgium in March 2020, as the download figures of the Amazon Prime Video app reveal. The availability of the national language might play a part, however, in the popularity of game-streaming service Twitch in Belgium. In 2019, two out of ten Flemish 16-to 24-year-olds said they watched a stream on this platform at least once per month. In that sense, it is interesting to look at Belgium's most popular YouTubers, as this list reveals many French-language accounts.

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Online video in Belgium

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