Although more and more Czechs are using paid streaming services, not all people are actually paying for the content, notes Erika Luzsicza.

The coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns have taught Czechs to use streaming services. There were 1.3 million people over the age of 16 watching paid services like Netflix, HBO GO and others this year alone, according to the latest Czech Statistical Office data. This is a 45% increase compared to the previous year, when the CSO said 925,000 people were watching. However, experts warn that not all Czechs are paying for this content, as the survey claims.

"The numbers are optimistic on one hand, but not entirely realistic. In fact, it is common practice for some paying viewers to share their passwords with other people. Or, conversely, it may be part of various marketing promotions, where some companies use various service synergies and promotional packages to offer free subscriptions as a bonus in the offer. Thus, real paying users will be only a part of the numbers mentioned," comments media expert Erika Luzsicza from Axocom.

TV platforms on the Internet have been helped especially by the pandemic. Statisticians report that in 2019, only 3 % of people over the age of 16 used streaming services. This year, that number has multiplied to 15.4%. Most people who watch pay-per-view videos are in the 25-34 age group, at 2 9%.

Estimates of the number of people watching paid online streams vary

Estimates vary on how many people watch paid online videos in the Czech Republic. According to a recent Atmedia index survey, 28 % of Czech TV viewers pay for at least one video-on-demand service, bringing the total number to two million. Netflix is the most common (74 %).

Close to the Atmedia Index estimate are also data from MML-TGI research for the second and third quarter of this year, according to which 1.8 million people use at least one of the paid video services.

On the other hand, according to the prediction of Daniel Grunt, head of digital activities at TV Nova and CME, which he showed at the Czech Internet Forum conference in October, the size of the market of paid video on demand (SVOD) services in the Czech market is about 1.7 billion CZK and the number of subscribers is about 700 thousand.

We lag behind Western Europe in the number of paying subscribers

Although the Czechs seem to have improved significantly in paying for content, we are lagging behind compared to Europe. In a comparison of 27 countries, the Czech Republic ranks fourth from last, with only Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria being worse. In contrast, the majority of the population paying for content is in countries like Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, but also Spain and Ireland. By contrast, free or ad-supported content such as Czech Television's iBroadcast, or DVTV was watched by almost three million people this year, or an equal third of the population over 16.

"In more economically advanced countries, it is quite common to see a different social setup. Customers are taught that you have to pay for quality. And the differences are then incomparable and we don't have to go far for examples. Just compare the quality of Czech series with foreign ones, it is always directly proportional to the budgets," adds Erika Luzsicza.