The television and video-on-demand market has traditionally been an information black hole. The main multinationals in the sector, for the most part, invoiced their clients from subsidiaries outside of Spain and did not report the data. And there was no offer to provide hard numbers. Now, the Spanish competition regulator (CNMC) has x-rayed the market for the first time with data by vertical. In total, according to its own figures, there are just over 24 million subscriptions, among all modalities and platforms, with total income that exceeds 1,250 million euros.
This clearly places Netflix in the lead, bringing together more than 45% of everything spent by Spaniards in the last available year. That year 2021 is the one that the CNMC takes as a reference for its statistics, it was the first in which it invoiced its clients from its Spanish subsidiary and not from a parent company with operations based in the Netherlands, as had been the case since it started in 2015. And throughout the year it entered 579 million euros corresponding to the billing “generated by local subscribers”.
The unpublished figures of the CNMC are reflected in the report approved in the middle of last May by the Regulation Chamber of the Commission and consulted by La Información. This official document serves to try to clear up some of the doubts expressed by operators in the sector in relation to the conditions to benefit from the exemption in the matter of promotion of European work regulated in the new Audiovisual Communication Law (LGCA) approved by Congress of Deputies in 2022. This regulation establishes that 5% of the income earned in the previous year must be contributed.
To calculate who can take advantage of this exemption in services on demand (or, in the CNMC jargon, it is ‘on request’), the body chaired by Cani Fernández clarifies how the level of media audience is determined. Those with an audience of less than 1% should not finance this type of European work (with 3% of their turnover in Spain). They understand that the best way to make the calculation is to ‘pull’ the revenue figure from the total number of platforms, ruling out using the indicator of unique users in a period of time because a precise definition is not available.
netflix and company
For this supervision of compliance with the obligations in the year 2023, the CNMC uses the latest data available: those of the year 2021. In that year, according to its own data, there are a total of 24.2 million subscriptions in Spain. The vast majority, that is, just over 23 million, are attached to Video on Demand Services (known by the acronym SVOD), among which are Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ or other more minority or Spanish platforms that were already formally registered for years.
Sources from the pay television market consulted by La Información, assure that Amazon Prime Video would be included in those 23 million subscriptions despite the fact that it is a ‘secondary’ service within a larger package in which they are included other products such as free deliveries or at a lower price of products purchased in your online store. It does not discriminate between services and, therefore, does not shed light on market shares and distributions. It is only limited to ensuring that of that amount, two thirds are based outside the Spanish borders up to a total of 16.2 million, and the rest, some 6.8 million, are established in the country. In that year 2021, all international platforms were out, except Netflix (which changed its billing in 2021): Amazon does it from Luxembourg (with a branch in Spain); HBO Max, from Sweden, or Disney+, which operates from the Netherlands.
the other platforms
If those 579 million that the platform that owns La Casa de Papel, Stranger Thins or El Juego del Squid declared in their income statements were excluded, the other almost 620 million euros are distributed among the main names, such as Prime, HBO or Disney + , in addition to the OTTs built by telecommunications operators or Spanish firms such as Filmin or Flixolé. It is impossible to know the distribution because the main ones are outside of Spain and in the reports of their respective parent companies the numbers are not broken down by market.
There are two other categories, much more minority, of the market drawn by the CNMC. One of them is the one that responds to the acronym TVOD, that is, video on demand but through the rental or purchase of content (Google Play, iTunes…). This account, according to data from the agency, with 36.8 million euros of income and 708,000 subscribers who took out the portfolio. The other vertical is AVOD, the platforms but which have advertising, such as PlutoTV and other more minority ones. Here they add sales of 22.4 million and 432,000 members.
Beyond the data, the Commission establishes who are those who can avoid the payment for the financing of European work through an exemption contemplated in the law. Specifically, whoever has a market share of less than 1% in terms of subscriptions (of the total of 24.2 million), or those purchase or rental services or advertising platforms made up of catalogs that have a position below the 1% relaxed with income.