Key trends in the European audiovisual sector: all the key figures to imagine the post-COVID world

Key Trends 2020/2021 is the European Audiovisual Observatory’s yearly digest of what’s hot in European media: TV, film, and VOD. This new edition outlines the big picture of the European audiovisual sector, presenting recent trends and hot issues, including ongoing insights into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the various audiovisual industries in Europe.

Initial research by the Observatory suggests the audiovisual sector lost over 10% of its revenues in 2020 compared to 2019, and close to 15% excluding on-demand services. Theatrical exploitation was an obvious COVID-19 casualty in 2020. Lockdowns repeatedly hit cinema attendance, with box-office takings dropping by 70% to 80% throughout Europe. Figures also reveal that VOD has had a very positive effect on the circulation of European films with a smaller cinema release over the past 5 years (under 50,000 admissions).

In this transformation age, there are two contrasting strategic visions:

A production-centric vision: Major platforms will inexorably become the dominant players in the audiovisual services landscape. The main policy objective will be to ensure the platforms contribute to European production by adapting the legal and financing ecosystem.

An audiovisual services-centric vision: Reliance on US-based platforms results in losses for the audiovisual services in terms of wealth creation, employment, and creative control. The main policy objective is to support Europe’s key players by for example supporting small cinemas, improving the competitiveness of TV vs. Internet advertising, fostering cooperation between broadcasters (including positivity about mergers), protecting the windows of legacy players, etc.