Can CanalPlay Infinity rival Netflix?

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 15-10-2011

This is the first official French anti-Netflix retaliation: Canal+ Group will launch on 8 November an SVOD offer called Canalplay Infinity.
For a €9.90 monthly fee, users will be able to watch an unlimited number of films and TV shows - there will be 2,000 movies and 700 programme episodes available each month.
The new service will start exclusively on IPTV platform NeufBox (SFR) before being extended to all platforms and connected devices such as console XBox 360. It will be complemented leading VOD service CanalPlay, which claims 700,000 unique users each year buying between 7 and 8 million videos. CanalPay Infinity also targets an audience younger and more urban than the one of Canal+ and CanalSat.
CanalPlay Infinity is both part of Canal+'s strategy for innovation, and its ambition to position itself in the market before connected TV and web foreign actors become a reality in France.
"We’re anticipating an evolution of the market, and mostly the emergence of connected TV, which will pave the way for new viewing usages. We want to become a reference actor on this market," confirmed CEO Bertrand Meheut at a press conference in Paris.
However will it be able to rival US streaming video website Netflix? Owing to French legislation, a three-year delay between movies’ theatrical release and SVoD release is imposed. No movie produced and shown after 2008 will be available on the service. According to the French media chronology, it is easiest to buy a DVD or pay to watch a VOD as the delay is only four months after the theatrical release. The same question of freshness will occur for TV series coming from the US (and the most attractive for French VOD users) as it takes several months between the first US run and the French broadcast. And if one day in 2012, Netflix crossed the Channel from the UK to France, it would be stronger to offer US movies and series.