France not a priority for Netflix

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 19-11-2012

US online VoD streaming service Netflix has stated that the launch of its service in France is not a priority, contradicting what Canal+ leaked a few months ago, predicting a launch for early 2013.

Speaking last week at IDATE's Digiworld 2012 in Montpellier, Netflix VP Kelly Merryman stressed that the company's aim is "to concentrate first on the 51 countries in which the platform is available and evaluate where we want to go in the coming months".

However, Merryman said she recognized all countries as future targets as Netflix wants to become a global solution.

The company also wants to consolidate its international expansion after its Q3 results showed losses on the international market and less growth than expected in certain geographical areas. Net profit fell to $8 million against $62 million the previous year.

Now involved in Europe, with bases in Ireland, the UK, and four Nordic countries, the service is not available yet in France, Spain or Italy.

Perhaps, therefore, France will first become home to Amazon's streaming offer, which is due to launch through its affiliate Lovefilm. For Netflix, there is a growing threat coming from Amazon, HBO and the RedBox/Verizon joint venture.

Last week Netflix announced that it added 1.2 million new US customers during the third quarter, bringing its subscriber total to 25.1 million, almost a third of all homes with broadband.

IDATE points out that Morgan Stanley analysts insist Netflix needs to raise prices: "The company spends more on content as a percentage of subscriber revenue (62%) than cable networks. They [Morgan Stanley] consider that Netflix's $8-per-month Internet streaming service is too cheap," IDATE said in its blog.