Netflix eyes up French connection

Editor | 05-12-2013

Reports are emerging that over-the-top (OTT) leader Netflix is in the advanced stages of plans to launch in France.

So far the OTT service, available in 41 countries, has concentrated on English-speaking territories and regions such as the Netherlands and Nordics where English-language content is widely popular. Indeed the company has recently announced that it would be the exclusive home of series two of Lilyhammer in Denmark and the Netherlands as well as the UK.

Almost exactly a year ago at the annual DigiWorld conference organised by IDATE, Netflix ruled out a launch in Europe's third largest pay-TV market but now the Reuters news agency has reported that Netflix executives have already met with the French President's staff to discuss a possible launch. "Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France," Reuters quoted an official at the President's office as saying, adding that Netflix executives were also visiting other European countries, most notably Germany.

Despite the potential market-changing effect of Netflix arriving in France, the OTT leader would face the challenge of coping with the country's rigid content window regulatory framework. At present a film cannot appear in an on-demand video service, such as that which Netflix offers, if bought as a monthly subscription until three years after its debut in cinemas. However, acquiring the content through an authenticated TV service has only a four-month window leading to the proposition that Netflix will aim to strike deals with French pay-TV providers similar to those with cable providers Virgin Media in the UK and Com Hem in Sweden.