The plot to box Netflix out of the French market

The plot to box Netflix out of the French market


Netflix’s arrival in France has been anything but smooth, and it seems the rough bumps are far from over. After discussions with the French government fell apart and Netflix decided to operate in France out of Luxembourg, avoiding any cultural taxes that France might impose, the French government vowed to make life for Netflix as difficult as possible.

Despite announcement of production of a  French TV Show, Netflix’s September has been preempted by Amazon-competitor Rakutens’ launch of in France just one week before – Rakuten has been quite strong in France after its 2011 acquisition of leading eCommerce site, not to mention their new Europe R&D office.

In terms of distribution, Netflix likely expected that leading ISP Orange wouldn’t distribute Netflix, given the TelCo’s historical ties to the French government and their competing service OCS (Orange Cinéma Séries); however, the announcement that Free, the 4th largest ISP, would also pass on making Netflix available to its users may hurt Netflix’s launch, where it hopes to touch 30% of households in the next 5 years.

Free’s decision not to distribute Netflix is pretty clear, given their current fight with Google over subsidized bandwidth use. Free doesn’t want users sucking down seasons of House of Cards & Orange is the New Black on its dime – their low-cost model depends on users using a controllable, low amount of bandwidth, and they won’t encourage them with high-bandwidth video streaming services.

Netflix is set to launch on September 9th – here’s hoping they pull out all the stops.

Photo credit: Engadget

5 Responses

  1. Joris Peucheret

    Netflix lunch on 09/09 may not be the most appropriate date to due to Apple announcement of new product launch on the same date (except if Netflix comes pre-instealled on Iphone 6 in France, hard to believe)

  2. Florian Le Goff (@madflo)

    The statement regarding Free’s business model and peering policy is incorrect and misleading. This is not a networking — thus, investment — issue but a proper billing war between carriers and providers.

  3. Cedric Ingrand (@cedric)

    Both ISP already have their own VOD services, or partnerships with existing ones. But this is an Over-the-top service, will work wether ISPs like it or not. And from what Netflix tells me, they make ISPs lives super easy, bandwidth-wise, by installing their own servers on the ISPs network. They will even pay for space, and power. And after all, Netflix didn’t have to be in Comcast’s boxes to be successful in the US. Still, that whole Netflix thing in France seems severely overblown.

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