French Warming to Netflix

France’s calculated indifference to Netflix appears to be waning.

The subscription streaming video pioneer reportedly is approaching 3.4 million subscribers – adding about 100,000 subs monthly since the beginning of the year, according to newspaper Liberation.

The tally is nearly double the 2 – 2.5 million subs often associated with Netflix’s French presence since launching there in 2014. Indeed, SVOD rivals Orange (2.9 million), OCS (3 million) and beIN (3.3 million) trail Netflix in subscribers. Only Canal+ tops with 4.9 million subs.

The subscriber increase comes less than a year after CEO Reed Hastings was on the defensive after French theater operators blasted the SVOD service for two Netflix Cannes Film Festival movie submissions (Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories”) debuting online  without a significant theatrical presence.

Hastings said Netflix would increase by 40% original French content in 2018, on top of “Marseille,” and “Osmosis,” among others. French law mandates 40% of content on radio, TV and theatrical must be of French origin.

Netflix just inked a direct-access agreement with telecom Altice France.

“Offering only American series will not work,” Pascal Rogard, director of France’s Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers, said upon Netflix’s arrival.

The company releases first-quarter (ended March 31) results April 16.




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