Advanced Television

Netflix: “We’ll invest in French content”

July 22, 2014

By Colin Mann

Reed Hastings, CEO of online entertainment service Netflix, has confirmed the company will invest in local content when it enters the French market in September.

Speaking on Netflix’s Q2 earnings call, Hastings said the company was not seeking to dodge any obligations to fund local productions or pay relevant taxes. “We’re not really trying to get around anything, we want to invest in French society and French content. And we want to give an avenue for French content to get out around world. There is some amazing French story tellers as a great French movie business, TV shows are growing,” he noted.

“We’re looking to do some investments in France with production that we can do,” he confirmed, joking that this could be a local version of House of Cards: House of Versailles. “That’s not literally the kind of thing that would be. But something like that, where it’s a big French production but it’s not just for France it’s for the whole world. We’re actively licensing again fresh content.”

He said Netflix would definitely work with French society and with the assumptions and beliefs that they have. “We want to be loved in France by French consumers because we understand French content because we give it a bigger home and because we’re bringing some variety, like US television shows, things that historically have been under distributed.

Ted Sarandos, CCO, noted that for all of the protectionism and all of the cultural favours, The Mentalist is the most popular television show in France. “So the taste don’t run that far off when you get down to the consumer. “But I am really excited to have France look at us as somebody who brings opportunity to the market not there to harm the market in anyway. And that we will employ French production employees and create great content in France but as Reed said for around the world. And we currently even have Gaumont is a French company that produces Hemlock Grove 1 now and is about to go into production with Narcos. A lot of our animation projects are co-productions with French production companies. So this is not new ground for us. We’re really excited about it,” he declared.

Their comments came as Netflix reported its customer base had passed 50 million members, adding 1.69 million new members during its second quarter, bringing the total to 50.5 million customers and generating $1.1 billion in revenue, slightly missing analysts’ projections of about $1.2 billion. Overall, Netflix generated $71 million in profit, triple the figure from a year ago.

Outside the US, Netflix generated continued growth in all of its markets, ending Q2 with 13.8 million international members, growing 78 per cent year-on-year. “In September, we’ll be launching Netflix in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This launch into markets with over 60 million broadband households will significantly increase our European presence and raise our current international addressable market to over 180 million broadband households, or 2x the number of current US broadband households,” it said in a Letter to Shareholders.

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