There were 258 video on demand (VoD) services operating in Europe at the end of 2007, research has revealed.
A survey by the European Audiovisual Observatory and the French Government’s Media Development Department (DDM) found that the number of services jumped from 142 a year previously.
This upsurge in the number of services is largely explained by the fact that television channels generally now have websites offering free catch-up TV, giving viewers access to certain programmes, notably episodes of series, for a period of several days after their transmission.
Some 74pc of the services surveyed are delivered via internet, 26pc are available as part of IPTV packages and 10pc come with cable packages. As previously, only a minority of VoD services are delivered via satellite or on digital terrestrial television.
As in 2006, France – with 32 services – remains the country with the highest level of VoD provision, followed by the Netherlands with 30 services and Germany with 26 services. Together, these three countries account for almost a third of Europe’s VoD services.
Ireland has seven VoD services, up from five in 2006, the survey found, putting us in 15th place. Five of the services are delivered via internet and two via IPTV.
The marked increase in the number of VoD services on the internet reflects the expansion of catch-up TV provision by broadcasters over the past two years – most catch-up services are being offered via the internet.
Throughout Europe, 62 catch-up TV services are delivered via the internet, compared with 11 services on IPTV, eight on cable, two via satellite and one on digital terrestrial television.
Initially, almost all catch-up TV was offered on internet but cable and DSL operators have now begun to include it on their networks.
By Niall Byrne