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SVOD Upstart Looks to Undermine Netflix’s Spanish Siesta

27 Apr, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but it could become a downpour for Netflix’s possible expansion plans in the country.

That’s because a new subscription video-on-demand service called Youzee (www.youzee.com) has launched operations based in Madrid. The service is offering unlimited streaming access to recent and catalog movies and TV shows for 6.99 euros ($9.16) a month.

The service, which is available in Spanish and English and touts a sophisticated contextual recommendation software similar to Netflix, also offers new-release transactional VOD rentals beginning at 2.99 euros ($4) for standard definition, and starting at 4.99 euros ($7) for high definition (720p) and more for 1080p resolution.

“We encourage you to ‘train’ our system by showing it what you like best and find out about a lot of other movies and TV shows on the way,” reads a tag on the website.

Netflix April 24 disclosed it plans to expand international operations in an undisclosed country in the fourth quarter. Analysts contend that country could be Spain — a prospect Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos seemed to suggest last year at MIPCOM in Cannes. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming pioneer bowed service in the United Kingdom and Ireland in January.

Indeed, online scuttlebutt last year said Netflix was in contact with Spanish film producers and industry representatives. The country, while having a very digitally connected consumer base, is in the midst of major economic recession with unemployment among the highest in the European Union. It is also a hotbed for pirated digital content (movies and music) — a challenge Sarandos welcomed.

“I believe that people would much rather interact with legitimate content suppliers than to steal content,” Sarandos said at MIPCOM. He said the solution was to offer consumers in Spain a superior product to piracy both in terms of content and access on the television.

“Consumers in Spain are actually paying for product,” Sarandos said. “They're just paying pirates instead of paying legitimate suppliers.”


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