Is Netflix a revolution ?

On Monday, it will be one month and half since Netflix settled in France. Call it a short time to judge a revolution. Still, has this long-awaited revolution truly occurred?

Victim of its success in the US, the On-Demand subscription platform, contemplated a bright entrance across the Atlantic. Such a rich catalog appeared to be a strong weapon in conquering one of the most important video consumption markets in Europe: France.

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Still, it is not that easy and one has to consider the strong French Market’ singularity. Characteristics such as the way to watch videos, the cultural context or the French legislations are strong enough not to be taken into account.

As a matter of fact, Netflix faces a non-market in France. Indeed, Canal Play, benefiting from its good user interface, looks like the only serious contender. Aggressive communication against Canal Play is not sufficient to gain market share. The real battle sets somewhere else.

French watch videos in a different way from Americans. Replay, On-Demand video via internet boxes and Free Tv channels are the traditional way to consume content.

Moreover, there are two legal issues dealing with the French cultural exception and media chronology. These issues stress that Netflix will have difficulties to gain market leadership.  Issues relating to content rights will surely arise in the close future.

In addition, the SVoD platform shall also offer some European and French contents according to “the Union legislation for protecting the cultural exception”.

Netflix could be a revolution by democratizing a new usage: SvoD. If Netflix does not succeed to be a strong challenger now, one can surely imagine it will gain some market share in the future. As of now, French users are disappointed with what was awaited as a huge game changer. The French service offered by Netflix can surely not be compared with the one in the US. Since I have installed Netflix on my laptop, I have done a little inquiry asking around me what TV shows and movies people want to watch… No match has happened.

Audrey Sertillange 



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