Compared to other European countries, the Italian video-on-demand industry is still a nascent market. However, the coronavirus pandemic had a positive impact on consumers’ streaming behavior and nowadays VOD is more popular than ever. Nearly half of respondents to a 2021 survey said that they watched more video streaming content because of staying at home due to COVID-19. Furthermore, the number of video-on-demand users grew to over 17 million in 2021 which is a penetration rate of 29 percent. After a dip in 2022 due to inflation, the count is forecast to increase again reaching 23.5 million by 2027.
Subscription is king
There is no other segment in the Italian video streaming market that is rising as fast as subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). Consumer spending on subscription-based streaming services amounted to 615.2 million euros in 2020, marking an increase of nearly 60 percent compared with the previous year. Despite declining in popularity, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were still the most used SVOD services in the country, with market shares of 28 and 27 percent respectively in 2021. Another international service, Disney+, had the third highest market share that year. Domestic players on the Italian SVOD market include Timvision, Sky Italia’s Now TV, Sky Go, as well as Mediaset’s Infinity which all held market shares of below 10 percent.
Growth in free streaming
Despite SVOD being the most used and most valuable type of streaming, if one asks Italian viewers about important factors when using streaming services, the top answer was subscription costs. For a few years now, SVOD services have been raising their prices, and considering the increasing inflation rate, it is unsurprising that consumers are switching to freely available options. In addition to national broadcasters such as Canale 5 and Rai which have launched their own catch-up services, U.S.-based services have started to take root in the Italian market, beginning with Paramount’s ad-supported streaming platform Pluto TV launched in October 2021.
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