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Netflix Arrives in France

15 Sep, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

SVOD pioneer partners with Bouygues Telecom to enable the telecom operator’s subscribers smoother streaming access

As expected, Netflix Sept. 15 launched service in France, the first of six European countries planned in the coming months. The subscription streaming pioneer partnered with Bouygues Telecom to afford the telecom operator’s subscribers smoother streaming access. Subscription prices start at 7.99 euros a month.

Netflix is expected to launch soon in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. It already operates in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Holland and Scandinavian countries. It is also eyeing launches in Japan, Spain and Korea, CEO Reed Hastings told Reuters.

In preparing for France, Netflix embarked upon an aggressive strategy aimed at winning over the hearts and minds of the country’s noted protectionist policies of its film industry.

In addition to reportedly establishing a data center in Paris to ease interconnection with French ISPs, Netflix greenlighted production of an original series patterned after “House of Cards,” in addition to acquiring rights to a popular animation series.

"We have provisioned capacity for many months of growth and reached for the high end of what we think is possible," Neil Hunt, chief product officer, told Reuters.

Separately, Hastings is preparing to address the European Union regarding net neutrality — an issue the Netflix co-founder has tackled in the United States. Specifically, net neutrality mandates that all Internet traffic be treated equal and not subjected to tiered pricing by ISPs.

The EU is contemplating imposing reforms that would underscore net neutrality and prohibit ISPs from charging Internet video services for their streaming traffic.

"The advantage of net neutrality is that it allows new Internet services to grow without needing the permission of network operators," Hastings said. "I think it needs to be inscribed in European law."



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