With the EU pushing hard for a pan-European regulatory framework around VoD, smaller players are likely out, while the big boys—U.S. Internet providers specifically—may have to pay to play. “There is a defensive wall against U.S. giants freely accessing the infrastructure,” Wagner says, “although that may hinder growth.”

The provider that creates what Wagner calls “the magic portal” will likely be the on-demand winner. “Germans must currently search multiple websites to find and access content,” he says. “The opportunity is there for one ‘magic’ source. But who that will be remains to be seen.”