Netflix Partners With French Retailer for Discounted Access

Netflix has signed its first partnership with a major big box retailer affording its customers access to the subscription streaming VOD behemoth.

The streamer inked a deal with French-based Carrefour, a multi-format network of more than 14,000 food stores across more than 40 countries.

For a €5.99 ($6.51) monthly fee, Carrefour Plus customers get a 10% reduction on all Carrefour brand products, free home delivery on purchases of €60 ($65) or more, and a Netflix Standard subscription with advertising.

Select Carrefour stores will also offer will offer Netflix merchandise, figurines, T-shirts, mugs, bags, and posters of Netflix original titles, including “Stranger Things,” “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” “One Piece” and Rebel Moon.

“Through this partnership, we hope to make our series, films and games even more accessible to new audiences,” Laurent Uguen, sales director, Netflix France, said in a statement.

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The strategy mirrors a partnership between Paramount+ and Walmart that sees the ad-supported streaming video option included with a subscription to the Walmart+ retail membership program.

Netflix reports year-end financial results on Jan. 23.

France Halts Sale of Apple iPhone 12 Due to Radiation Concerns

The French government has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12, and fix units already sold in the country due to concerns about the cell phone exceeding SAR regulations and global standards regarding energy emissions to the human body. SAR (synthetic aperture radar) is a means to quantify the energy transported by electromagnetic waves and absorbed by the human body.

The country’s National Frequency Agency mandated Apple withdraw the iPhone 12 from the French market as of Sept. 12, 2023, “as measures show the specific absorption rate exceeds the set limits” imposed by the European Union.

“Apple must immediately adopt all necessary measures to prevent the iPhone 12 being made available on the market,” the agency added. For iPhone 12 already sold, Apple has been ordered to take “corrective action” as soon as possible to bring the affected phones into compliance. Otherwise, it will be up to Apple to recall them.

In response, Apple said it disagreed with the ANFR’s ruling, claiming the iPhone 12 is in compliance with all existing government and health guidelines. Apple said it would work with the agency to prove the phone is in compliance.

Since releasing the first iPhone in 2007, Apple has marketed 34 different versions, including today’s unveiling of the new iPhone 15. Reports suggest the iPhone 14 and Pro Max remain Apple’s best-selling cell phones. Apple sold $39.7 billion worth of iPhones worldwide in its most recent 90-day fiscal quarter.

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Netflix France Bows Limited Series on Controversial Tycoon Bernard Tapie

Netflix Sept. 13 began streaming “Tapie,” a fictional seven-part limited series based on the late French business tycoon Bernard Tapie, whose flamboyance was only matched by the myriad controversies that surrounded much of his adult life.

Tapie, who died in 2021 at the age of 78, is played by French actor Laurent Lafitte (The Takedown) and traces a 30-year timeline (1966-1997) that saw the self-made mercurial businessman create a national presence and become a success story, appearing on French TV, buying fiscally-troubled German sportswear brand Adidas and the Olympique de Marseille soccer club, and creating the La Vie Claire (based on healthcare products) professional cycling team, which included French cycling icon Bernard Hinault and American Greg LeMond, among other ventures.

Along the way, most of Tapie’s business forays were conducted in the public to great fanfare — and often controversy.

The Adidas fiscal turnaround saved a venerable brand, but Tapie’s subsequent $500 million majority stake sale of the company in the early 1990s, while also the urban affairs minister in President François Mitterrand’s socialist government, drew criticism from political opponents, who accused him of using higher-ranking political connections to close the deal.

The La Vie Claire team would win two Tour de France races — the last in 1986 when race winner LeMond found his biggest race challenger to be his own teammate Hinault — much to the delight of the French media.

Tapie would later be convicted for tax evasion and jailed six months for attempting to bribe three of his Marseille soccer players, which resulted in a lifetime ban by French soccer.

“The collapse of Bernard Tapie has become a sort of symbol, the symbol of a triple failure: that of a tabloid society … that of an era of easy money and hysterical financing, which was the 1980s, and that of the power of an ambition to change life,” Philippe Labarde wrote in a column for Le Monde following the mogul’s death.

The Netflix series, of course, has drawn its own criticism from Tapie’s family, who did not participate in the production. Tapie’s widow, Dominique, in a media interview, said she wasn’t afraid of the series, adding instead, “I deplore it.”

Series writer and co-creator Olivier Demangel told AFP that the Netflix show neither blames or excuses Tapie’s behavior.

“This is the story of a television salesman who wanted to get into television, and who ended up incorporating television,” Demangel said.

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Apple TV+ to Offer French Canal+ Pay-TV Subs Free Streaming Access

Apple TV+ has inked a multiyear promotion with Canal+ affording the French pay-TV service’s subscribers across select European territories free access to the American SVOD platform programming without any registration required, according to a report in Variety.

The promotion, which begins April 20, is different from existing separate promotions enabling Canal+ subs bundled access to Disney+ and Netflix. Canal+ subs will have direct access to Apple TV+ original programming, which includes “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show” and Oscar-winning CODA, among other content.

Apple TV+, which launched ahead of Disney+ in 2019, has quietly upped its profile with the addition of original, higher profile programming. The platform in October will release in theaters Killers of the Flower Moon, a $200 million budget crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese regarding the mysterious murder of Osage Indians in the 1920s, and subsequent investigation by the FBI.

Apple’s original French-language series include “Liason” and “Drops of God.”

“This is a true partnership. It’s not a promotion and it’s not a one time thing. It’s a many years thing and hopefully something that lasts for forever in my mind,” Eddy Cue, SVP Services at Apple, told Variety, which first reported the deal.

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WBD, Amazon Prime Channels Rolling Out French-Based ‘Warner Pass’ Streaming Service March 16

Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon Prime Channels have announced the March 16 French launch date for the previously announced streaming video service Warner Pass. The platform, which will be exclusively available to Prime members in France, will cost $10.73 (€9.99) monthly and feature HBO content in addition to numerous branded channels such as Warner TV, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network and CNN, among others.

“The launch of Warner Pass exclusively as a Prime Video channel in France is the next step in our journey to become the destination for customers in France to find the best in storytelling, premium entertainment and sports,” Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, Prime Video French country director, said in a media statement.

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HBO shows include “Succession,” “Perry Mason,” “The Gilded Age,” “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” “Barry,” “Somebody Somewhere,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” in addition to pending series “True Detective: Night Country,” “The Idol”  and “White House Plumbers.”

“The launch of the Warner Pass is a very important event for the French audience who will finally have access through one single subscription,” added Pierre Branco, GM of Warner Bros. Discovery France, Benelux and Africa.

Warner Bros. Discovery is still planning to roll out a hybrid HBO Max, Discovery+ streaming service in Europe in 2024. The combined service will bow next month in the United States.

DEG International Renews ‘Les VODays’ Showcasing Hollywood Movies in France

The Digital Entertainment Group International (DEGI), and the Syndicat de l’Edition Vidéo Numérique (SEVN), Jan. 16 announced the return of “Les VODays,”’ a week-long marketing campaign to jumpstart digital retail sales of Hollywood and European movies in the French market.

French consumers will be offered a selection of new and classic movies at discounted prices from Universal Pictures Video France, Sony Pictures Entertainment France, SND Films and Warner Bros. Discovery France.

Titles will be available across both digital sellthrough and transactional VOD, allowing consumers to buy or rent movies. The selection of both Hollywood and local movies include Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the “Spider-Man” saga, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Joyeuse Retraite! 2, among others.

Participating digital platforms include the Apple TV app, CanalVOD, Filmo, Microsoft Movies & TV, VOD from Orange TV, Premiere Max, Prime Video, Rakuten TV, UniversCine and VIVA.

Les VODays” is backed by a nationwide media campaign that includes Facebook, Instagram and Catch-up TV on MyTF1 & 6play, with additional visibility across the ALLOCINE network.

“‘LesVODays’ in 2022 was a bold activation that delivered new and lapsed customers to the French market,” Liz Bales, CEO at DEG International, said in a statement. “The next iteration of the campaign will benefit from the learnings of last year, and will see the 2023 activity designed to highlight the breadth of titles across the digital format as well as the convenience of digital transaction.”

Argentina/France World Cup Soccer Final Set Fox Broadcast, Peacock Streaming Records

Fox Dec. 20 reported that a record 16.8 million viewers Dec. 18 watched Argentina defeat defending World Cup champion France 4-2 on penalty kicks. The viewership was up 48% from the 11.3 million who watched the 2018 final between France and Croatia.

The tally topped the previous ratings World Cup final record holder: the 1994 final between Italy and Brazil, which was watched by 14.5 million, according to Nielsen. It also topped the 15.5 million viewers for the USA/England group play match on Nov. 25.

The final generated 3 million streamers across NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform and 9 million when adding in Telemundo. Indeed, when including Telemundo, 22.3 million combined viewers in U.S. watched the final on linear TV. The match narrowly lost out to the the NCAA College Football National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (22.6 million) and the Winter Olympics debut in February (22.5 million).

Overall, Sunday’s final ranks fifth all-time for soccer TV matches viewed in the U.S. The highest-ever TV soccer viewership was the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final between the U.S and Japan, which was watched by 26.7 million people. The 2014 Germany/Argentina men’s World Cup final generated 26.7 million, followed by the 2014 U.S./Portugal group play match (24.7 million) and the 24.3 million who watched Spain play Holland in 2010.

2014’s ‘Amira & Sam,’ ‘The Connection’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray From MVD and Drafthouse Aug. 9

The 2014 romantic drama Amira & Sam and the 2014 French crime thriller The Connection will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 9 from MVD Entertainment Group and Drafthouse Films.

In Amira & Sam (2014), to help adjust to coming home from war, former Green Beret Sam Seneca takes a stab at a life-long dream: stand-up comedy. Meanwhile, Amira, who fled Iraq after her brother was killed by U.S. soldiers, has a run-in with the police, so Sam takes her under his wing. The more time they spend together, the harder it is for them to combat their feelings for one another. The film stars Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley,” Spider-Man: No Way Home), Dina Shihabi (Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan,” Netflix/Marvel’s “Daredevil”), Paul Wesley (“The Vampire Diaries”), David Rasche (Men in Black 3) and Ross Marquand (“The Walking Dead'”). Amira & Sam won awards at the 2014 Port Townsend Film Festival, 2014 Savannah Film Festival, 2014 Napa Valley Film Festival, 2014 St. Louis International Film Festival, 2015 Irvine International Film Festival and 2015 Prescott Film Festival.

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The Connection (2014), set in Marseilles in 1975, is inspired by true events. It tells the story of real-life magistrate Pierre Michel (Academy Award Winner Jean Dujardin, The Artist, The Wolf of Wall Street) and his relentless crusade to dismantle the most notorious drug smuggling operation in history: The French Connection. The film also stars Céline Sallette (Marie Antoinette) and Benoît Magimel (The Piano Teacher). The Rotten Tomatoes “Certified Fresh” film from producer Alain Goldman (Babylon A.D., La Vie en Rose) was a 2015 César Awards nominee for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.

French SVOD BrutX Melding Into Free Ad-Supported Platform

French subscription streaming video platform BrutX, which last year raised $75 million in funding to expand streaming operations in the U.S., India and Africa, is morphing operations into the Brut ad-supported streaming platform.

While reportedly profitable in France, where the Brut brand includes live streaming and e-commerce, SVOD aspirations internationally have face challenges. With SVOD reaching market saturation globally, platforms are increasingly turning to the ad-supported business model to sustain and/or grow operations.

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The 4-year-old, which claims 500 millions users monthly, features exclusive content, including movies, series, short films, documentaries, as well as original productions (reports, magazines, documentaries). Content is recommended by journalists, social media influencers, artists, activists, etc.) and focuses on content not covered in the mainstream media.

Netflix Tops 10 Million French Subscribers

Netflix has reportedly topped 10 million subscribers in France. The streamer, which launched operations in the European country in 2014, struggled for years to build consumer traction, reportedly generating just 750,000 subs by 2015. The tally reached 7 million subs in 2020.

Co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, addressing the “Choose France” economic summit, disclosed the new subscriber benchmark with a caveat.

“With one home representing several accounts, the number of users is even higher,” Sarandos told the French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Sarandos said the streaming platform has become a strong exporter of French original content, which includes about $40 million in spending across more than 25 productions in 2022. Netflix biggest French hit is the the drama series “Lupin.”

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Netflix is now releasing original movies into the French streaming market 15 months after their theatrical debut — down from the mandated 36-month window. Sarandos said he would like to shorten that window further.

“This [15-month] release window isn’t a long-term model. I think a good one is a few weeks and not a few months,” he said.

Netflix reports second-quarter (ended June 30) fiscal results on July 19.