Hungary’s Growing Subscription Video on Demand Market



A quarter of Hungarians subscribe to a streaming subscription like Netflix or HBO GO, research by the IDEA Institute has found. According to the latest survey, those who are willing to pay also take advantage of their subscription, with 39% watching a movie or an episode (or more) from a series every day using online video services.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the highest proportion of people with subscriptions to Netflix, HBO GO or other services are found the capital, with the figure at 39%.

The majority of respondents have a streaming subscription with only one provider. Paid streaming is most popular among 18-39-year-olds: one-third of those in this age group subscribe to such a service. Some 37% of respondents say they watch on a television, with laptops the second most popular device (26%).

Interestingly, 76% of subscription video on demand (SVOD)-subscribers responded that despite paying for a streaming service, it has not change their behavior concerning going to the cinema.

However, a quarter of respondents say they are less likely to go to the cinema, as it is cheaper to watch a movie via an SVOD subscription than to buy a cinema ticket. In addition, many people say they find watching movies at home more comfortable.

According to the survey, 62% of respondents do not or only rarely go to the cinema. Most people aged 18-39 say they watch at least one movie a month in the cinema.

The research was conducted by the IDEA Institute between November 29 and December 3, 2019, using a social media questionnaire. The results of the survey are representative of the adult population of the country in terms of gender, age, education and type of settlement. The margin of error for the 2,000 samples is +/- 2.2 percentage points, the institute says.

Important Market

HBO GO will have been available in Hungary for two years in 2020. Ádám Pinczés, the marketing manager of HBO tells the Budapest Business Journal that it has become an important market for the provider.

“Compared to 2018, in 2019 we tripled the number of direct subscribers to HBO GO. This places Hungary in second place in HBO GO with the number of direct subscribers in the CE region, ahead of Romania and the Czech Republic,” Pinczés says

In addition, the number of registered users through operators (B2B subscription model) continued to increase significantly, doubling in 2019 compared to 2018 at HBO.

“In terms of Customer Lifetime Value (user lifecycle), the fact that Hungarian HBO GO subscribers are particularly loyal compared to other CE countries is not to be overlooked,” he also added.

HBO has noted some interesting facts concerning the streaming user behavior in Hungary. The operating system here is dominated by Android, with a 73% share. Hungary is first in the “download” function, which means, that users are rather downloading the movies and episodes from the shows, than simply watching them online.

This makes good sense, since it means users can download everything first at home, using Wi-Fi, and can then watch movies on-the-go, say on public transport, without eating into their mobile internet subscription.

It’s also worth noting that, since high-end mobile penetration in Hungary is high, HBO GO users prefer to watch the streaming video service through mobile screens, rather than television. According to Pinczés, mobile viewing accounts for roughly 50% of the total, while TV takes a 30% share and only 20% of people watch on a laptop or a home computer.

This HBO data is interesting because it contradicts the IDEA survey of the market as a whole, according to which the television is the most important device used and laptop comes second, putting mobile users at the third place.

“IDEA representatives did not try to contact us and we have our own in-house surveys made,” Pinczés confirms to the BBJ.

Made in Hungary

For the other big streaming video service, Netflix, Hungary has also become an increasingly important market since October, last year. The company has added a Hungarian-language interface and Hungarian subtitles were also enhanced by the well-known video service, and it has also filmed some of its shows in Hungary like “The Witcher”, which had a huge success on Netflix.Hungarian content has also gradually been added since October, with 50 popular Hungarian films in the first round, which includes audience favorites (“Just Sex and Nothing Else”, “Something American” etc.); internationally acclaimed films such as the Oscar-winning “Son of Saul” but also some specialties like “Ruben Brandt, the Collector”, which was made with unique animation techniques.

Netflix Originals, featuring Netflix’s self-produced titles, have also received Hungarian dubbing, with popular series such as “Stranger Things”, “Black Mirror” and “The Crown” having received the Hungarian soundtracks since early October.

Netflix seems to have realized that there is much less demand for subtitled foreign language content in Hungary than for Hungarian-dubbed content. This has significantly hindered the spread of online video services in Hungary.

In fact, Netflix was in dire need of European and among them, Hungarian users, as for the first time in eight years, the number of Netflix subscribers in the United States has fallen and the Netflix subscriber base has expanded at a slower pace than expected. This is partly due to the increasing competition for on-demand video content services from the likes of HBO GO, Amazon and now Disney Plus.

“Netflix is currently available in 190 countries and 32 languages, with 151 million active subscriptions worldwide, potentially representing 450 million viewers who spend 115 billion hours a year consuming Netflix content. China, the Crimea, North Korea and Syria are all excluded from Netflix,” Dorottya Székely, Netflix’s content marketing officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told the BBJ.

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