Germans embracing TV streaming services in record numbers

The German home entertainment market surpassed €9 billion in 2018, according to new figures, further indicating that subscription based video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to gain popularity in the Bundesrepublik.

Germans embracing TV streaming services in record numbers
Actor Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath in the series Babylon Berlin / Source: DPA

“Amazon Prime Video remains the market leader, but Netflix continues to make strong gains, with 50% growth of subscriptions in 2018,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting which conducted the research. “The two services are mostly complementary and there is room for both to thrive.” 

Subscription video on demand services have shown – and are forecasted to show – continued growth in the home entertainment market, which also includes pay-TV services and transactional digital video services.

Futuresource estimates a quarter of Germans utilize one or more subscription video services. Germany’s subscription video on demand market is projected to double in the years between 2017 in 2019, and exceed €1 billion in 2020. 

SEE ALSO: This is how Germans spend their free time

Different than their European neighbours

Veale also says that, unlike their European neighbours, Germans are still utilizing pay-TV accounts, or premium TV subscriptions. Other countries are noticing plateaus and, in some cases, declines in pay-tv, which are TV channels you can view with a subscription such as Sky.

Yet in Germany, Veale says, “there is increased dynamism in the market, with an increased number of providers offering low cost, ‘pay-TV lite’ services as alternatives” to basic cable plans and premium subscriptions. 

That so-called dynamism in Germany’s home entertainment market has also contributed to the popularity of “Made in Germany” content exhibited by shows like Babylon Berlin, Four Blocks, Dark, and Deutschland 83 and 86. 

“The main reason is probably the development driven by the likes of Netflix and Amazon,” Torsten Zarges, a senior reporter at German publication DWDL, previously told The Local. “There are so many more platforms that need good content.”

SEE ALSO: Why 'made in Germany' TV has captured the imagination of the world

While Germany remains what Futuresource describes as Europe’s “shining light” in Blu-ray, consumers are expected to spend more on renting or purchasing digital movies and TV shows than on DVDs and Blu-rays by 2021. 

Veales also contend that the increase in services like Netflix and Amazon is likely due to the popularity of Smart-TVs. “Germany has one of the highest levels of smart TV ownership in Europe,” says Veale. 

Zarges said creatives in Germany were previously limited to ideas that could only work on mainstream television channels but they were now “able to think outside the box.”

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Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop

Spanish rapper C. Tangana was taking a big risk when he started mixing old-fashioned influences like flamenco and bossa nova into his hip-hop -- but it's this eclectic sound that has turned him into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop
Spanish rapper Anton Alvarez known as 'C. Tangana' poses in Madrid on April 29, 2021. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

The 30-year-old has emerged as one of the world’s biggest Spanish-language stars since his third album “El Madrileno” — the Madrilenian — came out in February. That ranks him alongside his superstar ex-girlfriend Rosalia, the Grammy-winning Catalan singer with whom he has co-written several hits.

C. Tangana, whose real name is Anton Alvarez Alfaro, has come a long way since a decade ago when he became known as a voice of disillusioned Spanish youth in the wake of the financial crisis.These days his rap is infused with everything from reggaeton and rumba to deeply traditional styles from Spain and Latin America, with a voice often digitised by autotune.

“It’s incredible that just when my music is at its most popular is exactly when I’m doing something a bit more complex, more experimental and less
trendy,” he told AFP in an interview.

And he is unashamed to be appealing to a wider audience than previously: his dream is now to make music “that a young person can enjoy in a club or someone older can enjoy at home while cooking”.

‘People are tired’

The rapper, who sports a severe semi-shaved haircut and a pencil moustache, has worked with Spanish flamenco greats including Nino De Elche, Antonio Carmona, Kiko Veneno, La Hungara and the Gipsy Kings.

In April he brought some of them together for a performance on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk Concert” series, which has already drawn nearly six million
views on YouTube.

Shifting away from trap, one of rap’s most popular sub-genres, and venturing into a more traditional repertoire was a dangerous move — especially for someone with a young fanbase to whom rumba, bossa nova and bolero sound old-fashioned.

“I think people are tired. They’ve had enough of the predominant aesthetic values that have previously defined pop and urban music,” he said.

Parts of his latest album were recorded in Latin America with Cuban guitarist Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club, Uruguayan
singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, Mexican folk artist Ed Maverick and Brazil’s Toquinho, one of the bossa nova greats.

“What struck me most everywhere I went was the sense of tradition and the way people experienced the most popular music, and I don’t mean pop,” he said.

A new direction

C. Tangana started out in 2006 rapping under the name Crema. When the global economic crisis swept Spain a few years later, hard-hitting trap was
the perfect way to voice the angst of his generation. But after more than a decade of rapping, things changed.

“When I was heading for my 30s, I hit this crisis, I was a bit fed up with what I was doing… and decided to give voice to all these influences that I
never dared express as a rapper,” he said.

The shift began in 2018 with “Un veneno” (“A poison”) which came out a year after his big hit “Mala mujer” (“Bad woman”).

And there was a return to the sounds of his childhood when he used to listen to Spanish folk songs at home, raised by a mother who worked in
education and a journalist father who liked to play the guitar. The Latin American influences came later.

“It started when I was a teenager with reggaeton and with bachata which were played in the first clubs I went to, which were mostly Latin,” he said.

Studying philosophy at the time, he wrote his first raps between stints working in call centres or fast-food restaurants.

As to what comes next, he doesn’t know. But one thing he hopes to do is collaborate with Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican singer who dabbles in folk, rock and pop — another jack of all musical trades.