The efforts to counter Netflix’s big push in France continues. Telco operator and soon-to-be SFR owner, Numericable, just launched their own VOD service to rival Netflix via their LaBox Fibre. The platform, LaBox Series, will be free for their 380k fiber subscribers, giving them access to up to 3k TV shows and will eventually extend to movies. Examples of some of the series available to users include Mob City, Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Un Village Francais, and P’tit Quinquin.
According to Numericable VP, the group has not intention of ceding the booming VOD space to Netflix. He sees that (via their box) one of their key strengths is diffusing television content. And, more specifically, having the capability to diffuse their content directly to TV, which without a telco partner, Netflix currently lacks (UPDATE: Up until now… Bouygues just announced that they’ve signed a partnership with Netflix whereby their box users will be able to access Netflix content for an additional subsription fee). Although this capability is helpful, it’s not yet proven that this will hamper Netflix in any way given the multitude of ways that users can stream via other devices to TVs (e.g. blue ray, video game consoles, etc).
With Wuaki.tv, Orange, and others jumping-in the market on what seems like a daily basis, Netflix’s path to emerging as #1 in the French VOD space is unlikely to be an easy one.