French Telecom Orange Not Carrying Netflix29 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
As expected, Orange, France’s largest telecom operator, July 29 confirmed it will not offer subscribers direct access to Netflix when the subscription streaming service launches operations in the country, along with Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg in September.
“I’ve decided that we will not market Netflix when it launches here,” CEO Stéphane Richard told BFM Radio, according to a Reuters report.
Orange operates its own HDMI dongle “Orangecast,” which offers subscribers myriad content options, including movies and TV, and is marketed as an alternative to Google Chromecast — which does offer Netflix.
Netflix is in the midst of a full-court press in Europe as it readies for its biggest untapped market expansion: 180 million broadband homes, which is more than three times its current global subscriber base and twice the size of the U.S. market.
The SVOD pioneer has been negotiating with multichannel video program distributors, satellite TV and telecoms about offering direct access to their subscribers, instead of connecting via the Internet.
Netflix struck similar deals with Virgin Media in the United Kingdom and select regional cable operators in the United States
Orange’s Richard reportedly has not ruled out revisiting direct access to Netflix in the future. The telecom ended the most recent fiscal period with 5.8 million IPTV subscribers, which was up 8.5% from the previous-year period.