Vivendi plans European Netflix

Jörn Krieger ©RapidTVNews | 07-04-2012

French media company Vivendi wants to create a Netflix-type video-on-demand (VOD) service in Europe, starting with Germany.
"Our service will probably launch in the third or fourth quarter of 2012. We plan a relatively hard-hitting arrival," Stefan Schulz, head of the newly founded Berlin-based Vivendi subsidiary Multiscreen Entertainment, told German news magazine Focus.

The service will initially be offered in Germany, said Schulz. "This is an important strategic project for Vivendi. From Germany, we want to roll out the model to the whole of Europe."
The service will contain a flat-rate for unlimited video consumption and cover all reception devices. "You pay once and gain full access to our complete movie line-up which you can watch as often as you like and on any device of your choice. This is comparable with the model through which Netflix became strong in America," Schulz announced.
With the move, Vivendi will get into competition with existing German VOD services such as LOVEFiLM (Amazon), maxdome (ProSiebenSat.1) and Videoload (Deutsche Telekom). By the end of the year, public broadcasters ARD and ZDF want to launch their joint video portal which they currently prepare under the working title Germany's Gold.

Germany, Europe's biggest TV market, could have been selected as the debut market for Vivendi's VOD service as the two major US players Netflix and Hulu have not yet set up local affiliates while the German commercial broadcasters' plan to launch a Hulu-type platform themselves were blocked by the German anti-trust authority.