ORF plans Austrian Netflix

Parent Category: News | 05-11-2013

Austrian public broadcaster ORF wants to create a video portal on which Internet users can watch full length movies, series and other TV programmes.

With the offering, which is to be financed through advertisements, subscription fees and single fees for videos, the broadcasters wants to beat the US video portal Netflix which is rumoured to be considering entering German-speaking Europe.

"We are working on an on-demand video portal," ORF's director general Alexander Wrabetz told German business newspaper Handelsblatt. "We don't want to wait for Netflix to stir up the Austrian market." The ORF heads want to decide how to set up the venture by the end of this year.

However, large hurdles need to be overcome first. According to Wrabetz, the obstacles are the high cost of rights, technology and software for such an online video library. He didn't give details on the costs involved, but the paper says that ORF insiders consider the investment to amount to a two-digit million euro figure. According to ORF, no public licence fee money will be used for the venture.

Despite the German Federal Cartel Office having blocked the video portals planned both by RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 and by ARD and ZDF for competitive reasons, Wrabetz doesn't believe such difficulties to occur in his country: "We expect that there won't be insurmountable legal hurdles in Austria."