Netflix, which already has at least 6.7 million subscribers in France, is out to win friends in France, and charm local politicians and build on that core viewer loyalty.
Netflix has opened an office in France and has already announced a number of distribution and creative and production partnerships in the country. It already has 40 staff locally.
Co-founder Reed Hastings is backing young student filmmakers for Master’s degrees in animation, and has 20 new French TV series, movies and documentaries in production. Hastings says Netflix will invest more than €100 million into French creativity this year.
One aim is for Netflix to reduce the obligatory period where movies are held back for 3 years before being released on streaming services. Hastings has been lobbying Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and French culture minister Frank Riester for changes and the pair were at the official January 17th opening of the Netflix Paris HQ.
“Netflix and France’s relationship wasn’t easy at first, it was tainted by shyness, wariness…mistakes on both sides and even perhaps some misunderstandings,” Riester said, “but we’ve realised that we can’t live without each other.”
“We are becoming a major French producer, we are no longer just a machine to export Hollywood content,” he said, and adding that he was set to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron.
Netflix currently also has to obey the “Cultural Exception” law which requires broadcasters to produce 40 per cent of their content locally, and to pay a 25 per cent slice of their French revenues to support local production.