After a sluggish start, Netflix France has finally established solid footing since launching in the country five years ago.
The subscription streaming video pioneer, which once faced strong criticism from state-subsidized local media and allegations the service would destroy France’s “cultural exception” — especially at the box office, started strong in 2019, capturing more than 52% of all video-on-demand consumption in January, according to Harris Interactive and CNC.
Netflix surpassed Canal Plus (4.76 million subs) with 5 million subscribers, which prompted the French pay-TV operator to launch a new service – Canal+ Séries– focusing on TV shows, including programming from Showtime, FX and others.
On-demand digital programming continues to grow in popularity among the French, with 18% of users watching delayed content, up 2.5% from January 2018.
Nearly 12% consumed transactional VOD content, down 1.6% from 2018, while digital sales of movies and TV shows increased 6.1%.
In January this year, 52.6% of people watching on-demand programming opted for Netflix – up more than 8% compared to January 2018. By comparison, 19.7% consumers chose MyTF1 VOD and 19.5% on Orange.
Amazon Prime Video generated 15.3%, with Google Play and Apple iTunes at 8.2% and 7.5%, respectively.
Indeed, Netflix France ended January with 2.6 times more users than MyTF1 VOD. Not surprisingly, nine Netflix series ranked among the Top 10 programs viewed.
Seeking to combat Netflix’s rising popularity in France, pay-TV giant Canal+ March 12 launched a new subscription streaming video service, c+Séries, featuring local and international TV content, including original programming.
In a twist, Canal+ is marketing the €6.99 ($7.90) monthly service without movies through a campaign that encourages users to share their password with up to four people — the latter based on the €14 ($15.90) plan.
The service is accessed through the existing “myCanal” app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android platforms.
Frank Cadoret, deputy CEO of the C+ Group, said the service targets younger demos by offering episodic dramas and multiple distribution options.
“We are totally in tune with the new aspirations of the public,” Cadoret said in a statement.
Indeed, with Netflix recently surpassing 5 million subs in France, Canal+ is trying to appeal to a consumer that is moving away from traditional linear TV distribution and toward over-the-top video.
In addition to more than 150 series, c+Séries streams content from CBS-owned Showtime and Fox’s FX, including “Billions,” “SMILF,” “Pose” and “What We Do in The Shadows,” the platform offers StudioCanal original series “The Lawyer” and “Moscow Noir.” Catalog series “The Americans,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “24,” “Dexter”and “X-Files” also are available.
After fits and starts, Netflix has reportedly exceeded 5 million subscribers in France — five years after launching service largely to indifferent consumers, according to publication Les Echos.
The publication cited comments from Netflix co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings, who was in Paris recently to announce the opening of a company office staffed by 20 employees.
The benchmark is impressive considering Netflix reported 3.5 million subs last September. Since then, the SVOD pioneer has pledge to double local content production. It has also attempted to bridge a divide with the French movie industry, notably the Cannes Film Festival regarding theatrical windows.
The publication said French media pay-TV/SVOD platform Canal+ still exceeds Netflix in average monthly revenue per subscriber (€40) compared to €12 for Netflix.
French households now spend 1% – 2% of their TV viewing with Netflix, compared to 10% in the United States. About 1.7 million people in France watch Netflix and other video-on-demand services daily (including 60-70% Netflix) in prime time, according to an NPA Conseil study.
Les Echos said Canal+plans to launch a less expensive SVOD service with localized content to up competition with Netflix. In addition the service has the ability to license American TV shows such as “Billions” and “The Affair,” as Showtime does not distribute internationally.
“Even though it has reached the 5 million subscriber mark in France, Netflix probably still has a real growth reserve,” wrote Les Echos.