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American companies taking bigger slice of European TV market

Nearly half of all children's television channels in Europe are owned by American media brands, according to the findings of a new report.

Nearly half of all children's television channels in Europe are owned by American media brands, according to the findings of a new report.

A still frame from the Russian version of the Disney Channel. (Still frame via Disney Kanal broadcast, Graphic by The Desk)

American media companies are growing their market presence in Europe, with U.S.-based conglomerates increasing their share of linear television channels and streaming services, according to the findings of a new report.

The report, released by the Council of Europe’s Audiovisual Observatory, evaluated more than 12,600 services, including over 9,300 broadcast and pay TV channels and approximately 3,300 video on-demand and streaming platforms.

Around 20 percent of the largest television broadcasters in the European market were owned by U.S.-based companies, along with 33 percent of on-demand video services, the report concluded. Across all commercial TV channels, approximately 18 percent were owned by American media firms, a number that increased to 39 percent when evaluating subscription streaming services and. Around a third of TV on-demand platforms were American-owned.

American media companies dominate when it comes to children’s television channels and related streaming services, with nearly half of all children’s television entertainment originating from a handful of U.S.-based companies. The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Global, Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) and AMC Networks all own or operate kid-friendly channels in the region, with localized variants of Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and JimJam widely available on cable and satellite.

Warner Bros Discovery is considered the top American player in Europe, with more than 360 television channels serving 45 countries and nearly 150 video on-demand platforms — including Discovery Plus and Max — available in 30 markets. Paramount Global is considered the second-biggest provider of private TV channels in Europe (203 channels in 41 countries), while Alphabet offers 99 different versions of Google Play, YouTube Premium other video platforms in 38 countries, making it the second-biggest provider of video on-demand services in Europe.

The BBC is the largest publicly-owned media brand in Europe, serving up 70 TV channels in 25 markets. The majority of those channels are available within the United Kingdom, while a few — including BBC News and BBC Entertainment — are available throughout the continent. Of the top 10 television group owners, the BBC ranks eighth.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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