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Netflix Inks Content Distribution Deal With Italian Telecom

29 Jul, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In a first, Netflix has signed a deal with Telecom Italia to distribute select original programming on Italy’s largest phone operator’s broadband network.

Whereas cable, satellite and telecom operators are slowly embracing Netflix with direct-access links for subscribers, the Telecom Italia deal revolves around offering Netflix Original content to telecom subs, including “Daredevil,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “House of Cards,” Marco Polo,” “Gracie and Frankie,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Sense8,” in addition to documentaries Virunga, Mission Blue and docuseries “Chef’s Table,” as well as various stand-up comedy specials and children’s programming.

The deal also includes pending Netflix original movies, including Beasts of No Nation, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, Jadotville and Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6.

All content will be available with either Italian subtitles or dubbing. Netflix programming will be available in HD via the “TIMvision” set-top box, on TIM’s fixed ADSL and UBB networks, the most broadly available networks in Italy. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

“This agreement shows once again that the major players prize the quality of our networks. With Netflix we are continuing our route of collaboration between telecoms and media companies, which enables us to propose to the market a fully convergent offer, strengthening a new business model centered on the video strategy,” CEO Marco Patuano said in a statement.

For Telecom Italia, the deal is another attempt to transition into new businesses from a telecommunications market inundated with competition and changing consumer habits.

The company recently announced it would cut 1,700 jobs, in addition to scuttling plans to hire 4,000 young employees over the next four years as part of a government-sponsored “expansive solidarity” program.

It also marks a first-mover act (and SVOD marketing push) by the telecom as Netflix plans to launch streaming service in Italy, Spain and Portugal later this year.

“This partnership … will make it even easier for Italians to discover Netflix and, with it, a new way of watching TV that puts viewers in charge of when and how they enjoy their entertainment,” Bill Holmes, global head of business development at Netflix, said in a statement.

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