The runners and riders have lined up and the flag has been dropped, marking the beginning of the race for subscriber video on-demand (SVOD) supremacy.

Major players are jostling for position, in the hope of catching Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Apple has taken the wraps off its forthcoming streaming product, Apple TV+, while many are enthused by the potential for Disney’s upcoming SVOD platform, Disney+, which is to launch in the US in November. Viacom, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia are at varying stages of launching their own services.

Yet many TV companies are likely to fail in their attempts to launch sustainable SVOD products, according to Simon Murray, founder of Digital TV Research, and advertising is likely to remain a vital part of the video ecosystem for the foreseeable future.

It is easy to understand the industry’s enthusiasm for subscription platforms. Speaking at MediaTel’s Connected TV World Summit (March 2019, London), Murray predicted that by 2023 there will be 99 million subscribers to SVOD services across Western Europe – double the total in 2017, and only just short of the anticipated 106 million paying to access cable and satellite television.