Europe’s Broadcasters: Time to Stream or Be Streamed Over?

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European commercial broadcasters are facing a tough reality: viewership is down, content budgets are shrinking, and streaming giants are gobbling up market share. A new report by Ampere Analysis paints a stark picture but also offers a glimmer of hope.

Broadcasters Under Pressure

The numbers don’t lie. Since 2016, commercial broadcasters across Europe’s big five markets (UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy) have seen a worrying decline:

  • 16% drop in consumer engagement
  • 19% decrease in content spending
  • Nearly €1 billion decline in linear TV ad revenue

This comes as streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Warner Bros. Discovery have been aggressively investing in content, capturing viewers’ attention.

A Window of Opportunity

However, there’s a potential silver lining. Streamers, facing pressure to turn a profit, are starting to slow down their spending growth. This creates an opportunity for broadcasters to make a comeback.

Here’s why:

  • Streamers’ spending growth is projected to slow to 8% in 2025, compared to a scorching 35% average between 2021 and 2024.
  • Broadcasters can maintain or slightly increase content investment, making them stand out in a more conservative spending landscape.

The Key to Survival: Embrace Streaming

The ampere analysis is clear: broadcasters must prioritize streaming to stay relevant. This means:

  • Investing in and improving their streaming platforms.
  • Building strong content libraries that cater to younger viewers.
  • Developing effective digital advertising strategies.
  • Experimenting with content release strategies across both linear TV and streaming.

The Bottom Line

Cutting costs might seem tempting in the short term, but broadcasters need to focus on the long game. By investing in content and embracing streaming, they can reclaim lost ground and thrive in Europe’s competitive TV market. As Neil Anderson, analyst at Ampere Analysis, says: “Prioritizing long-term investment is crucial for broadcasters to maintain prominence.”