Netflix clears French obstacles

April 23, 2014 08.22 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Netflix FamilyNetflix is set to launch in France by the end of the year, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Quoting a person “with knowledge of the situation”, it adds that talks with French regulators about how to pay for content and comply with streaming rules have mostly been concluded.

Expanding into France presents a number of challenges to Netflix, with Canal+, for instance, already holding exclusive rights to the second season of House of Cards, which is a Netflix original series in other countries.

Significantly, a similar situation exists in Germany, where Sky Deutschland holds the same rights.

The situation is also made more complicated by the fact that French rules require video services to reinvest 15% of their revenues in French and European productions.

However, streaming from Luxembourg could circumvent this.

Other obstacles to a launch in France include local rules that prevent movies from appearing on SVOD services for three years after their theatrical run.

There is also a requirement by providers to offer at least 50% European content.

Speaking in a conference call earlier this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the service is set to launch in at least two more European markets this year.

Although Netflix currently derives around 25% of its total streaming revenues from the international segment, they are expected to eventually surpass those from the US.