22 / 02 / 17


Window pains: How the subscription window affects title performance

It is often assumed that the uptake and use of subscription video-on-demand services is a key contributing factor to the ongoing declines witnessed across the home entertainment market. Part of the argument suggests that there is ‘too much content’ – that through subscription on-demand services, users are typically presented with more content than they could possibly consume, and as a consequence develop an unwillingness to spend on purchasing or renting content on DVD, Blu-ray or via digital stores.

To some extent, the film industry is afforded some level of protection from this in the form of windowing strategies. The unavailability of key titles via subscription on-demand for an extended period post-theatrical means that fans must purchase or rent new releases from digital or physical stores – if they want to obtain legal access to them during this period. And this can be seen in the profiles of those who are highly engaged with content – subscription on-demand users, for instance. Ampere’s consumer studies suggest that subscription video-on-demand users are actually among some of the heaviest buyers and renters of film and TV. In the UK and USA, subscription on-demand customers purchase or rent films at nearly double the rate of the average consumer.

Yet the two issues above are not mutually exclusive. Subscription VoD customers can be amongst some of the strongest media purchasers, yet still also be influenced by the widespread availability of content into purchasing less than they might otherwise.

This effect can be seen more clearly at the point at which titles do finally make the transition out of the exclusive retail/rental window and onto subscription on-demand services, in the form of chart-position deterioration. Ampere’s analysis of a basket of over a dozen major Action & Adventure releases spanning the past 18 months suggests that titles undergo a substantial drop-off in their chart positions on digital retail and rental stores following their debut on subscription on-demand. 

In the UK for instance, chart positions for this basket of titles averaged at between 30 and 50 over the three months prior to their debut on subscription on-demand. Following release on subscription platforms, the titles dropped to an average of between 169 and 253 in the charts over the subsequent months. There are a few drivers for this change. Firstly, it should be noted that a slow and steady decline in chart positions is normal for titles as their addressable market shrinks and they become less prominent on stores – supplanted by new alternatives. Secondly, and more importantly – given the accelerated drop-off in chart position – availability on subscription VoD will mean that subscribers can view a film without purchasing or renting it for a separate fee, reducing purchase incentives. And thirdly, holdbacks on rental availability are often applied at the point at which titles become available on subscription – leaving only the higher-priced retail option for consumers, and further reducing the addressable market.

Ultimately, the equation as to whether this is a net positive for studios and distributors will be dictated by the value obtained from the subscription window and whether this more than compensates for any downside – but it does strongly suggest that subscription on-demand movie services have a direct and observable impact on performance of home entertainment titles – beyond the less tangible effect of ‘too much content’.

16 / 02 / 17



BBC: British Binge-watching Corporation?

This month, Merriam-Webster added “binge-watch” to its dictionary, which it defines as “to watch many or all episodes of (a TV series) in rapid succession”. In Ampere’s latest UK consumer survey, 53.9% of respondents regularly watch multiple episodes back-to-back with 16-24 and 25-34 year olds over-indexing for binge-watching. Recent developments from British public broadcaster the BBC suggest that it, too, is embracing “binge-watch” culture:

•    BBC partnered with ITV to launch SVoD service, BritBox, in the US, allowing US subscribers on-demand access to a suite of British content.

•    It intends to scrap “linear exclusivity” and release an entire series of a show on iPlayer before linear broadcast in the hope of keeping up with industry giants; Netflix and Amazon.

•    Selected TV series, including recent dramas Taboo and Apple Tree Yard will be available as box sets for 30 days from the date of the airing of the final episode. This is rather than its blanket “30 day catch-up” model on all content which meant that consumers joining a series more than a month into a show run were unable to catch up with the earliest episodes.

Although Netflix and Amazon typically launch an entire original series at once, it is not always the way. Amazon’s The Grand Tour for instance, opted instead to release episodes on a weekly basis. The BBC’s move online has also extended to turning its millennial-geared channel, BBC Three, into an online-only service. It also closed a legal loophole which allowed consumers viewing non-linear content on the iPlayer service to evade the £145.50 per year TV licence fee.  

The likelihood of a UK respondent agreeing with the statement “I frequently watch several episodes of the same TV show back-to-back” has seen minimal year-on-year change - 54.6% in Q3 2015 vs. 53.9% in Q4 2016.  However, there has been an increase in this figure among those who have used either Netflix or Amazon Instant Video in the previous month, whereas BBC has seen little year-on-year change. This suggests that this move may increase the likelihood to binge-watch for BBC iPlayer users, or encourage more of those who enjoy binge-watching to use BBC iPlayer.

15 / 02 / 17



How the price of Transactional Video-on-Demand (TVoD) content declines

Looking at all pricing data from a selection of large US transactional stores, Ampere has been conducting research into how price decline varies with content age.

8 / 02 / 17

  USA, Western Europe

  Amazon, Netflix

Not the market toy manufacturers deserve, but the one it needs right now

Alongside the release of "The LEGO Batman Movie", Ampere finds that the number of LEGO-related titles licensed to major SVoD services in the UK and US has doubled in the last 18 months.

2 / 02 / 17
Video crucial component in halting decline of mobile contract value

Mobile product lines have lost substantially more value per customer than their fixed counterparts over the past decade. Operators should now be thinking about how fixed content strategies can be adapted to protect the value of mobile customers.

26 / 01 / 17

  Fixed Line Telephony, Mobile Telephony , Broadband access, Programming, Pay TV

  Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK


Content and OTT key to Sky's future growth

The potential combination with 21st Century Fox and content synergies were brought into sharp focus as Sky revealed its results for the six months ending December 2016.

25 / 01 / 17


New-title halo effect: quantifying the boost to older franchise movies

We often observe a surge in the average chart ranking of a film around the time of release of its sequel. This is, in part, due to vendors dropping the price of the original film but has much more to do with nostalgia.

19 / 01 / 17

  TVoD, OTT, VoD

  Central & Eastern Europe, North America, Western Europe

It's Official: Die Hard is a Christmas film

Ampere solves the long-running debate over whether Die Hard is really a Christmas film

9 / 01 / 17



  Vivendi, SFR

The French VoD paradox

France Télévisions looks set to become the latest entrant to the French Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) market with news that the broadcaster is working on launch of a new service this year. But France is a challenging market for SVoD...