France paves the way for Netflix

December 5, 2013 11.37 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Netflix FamilyThe launch of Netflix in France has moved a stage closer following a series of meetings between key company executives and French officials.

According to Le Figaro, they took place yesterday (December 4) and had as their aim “to explore the legal and commercial conditions of arrival in France”.

The first meeting was between David Hyman and Christopher Libertelli, the respective counsel and heads of public affairs at Netflix, and David Kessler, the media advisor to the Elysee.

This was followed by a meeting between the Netflix officials and Pascal Rogard, the director general of the authors’ society SACD.

Netflix, which Le Figaro believes is preparing to launch in France in autumn 2014 after making its debut in Belgium in May and perhaps Germany next summer, was told that it would be welcome in France as it can legally protect the company against piracy.

However, Netflix would in return have to accept certain rules.

Firstly, it would have to operate directly from France and not Luxembourg in order to avoid paying VAT.

Secondly, it would have to contribute financially to France’s film and audiovisual industry in the same way that TV channels and telcos offering VOD services do.

Thirdly, it would have to respect rules that allow VOD screenings four months after theatrical releases and SVOD only 36 months after. However, the latter period may in due course be reduced to 18 months.

Netflix’s arrival in France is likely to shake up the local market and pose a particular threat in Canal+.