France’s Orange won’t carry Netflix

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French telecoms operator Orange has said that it won’t carry Netflix’s service on its set-top boxes when the streaming service launches in France this autumn.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard told France’s BFM Radio that he has concerns over how Netflix will finance the infrastructure it uses to deliver its content. He also raised the issue of how the streaming giant, which recently moved its European headquarters from Luxembourg to Amsterdam, would comply with French film financing regulations.

“Netflix accounts for 30% of US fixed networks at peak times. This is huge and raises the issue of the economic relations between telecom operators and content providers,” Richard said.

He added: “The other question that arises is how Netflix will fit into the French ecosystem in audiovisual creation, media chronology and obligations required in France.”

French free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters are required to invest a percentage of their income in European and French films. France also has a 36-month window between theatrical release and SVOD, much longer than in most other territories.

Already present in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Scandinavia, Netflix is planning to expand into Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg in September. Orange currently has around 10 million subscribers to its bundled TV and internet services. Without Orange or other pay-TV partners, French customers will still be able to access Netflix via the internet and apps.

Elsewhere in Europe, the streaming service is carried by the UK’s Virgin Media, Denmark’s Waoo! and Sweden’s Con Helm.

Orange is understood to be developing its own over-the-top (OTT) SVOD service, available as a HDMI dongle, which would incorporate programming from its Orange Cinema Series channels, including films from HBO and Warner Bros. Orange also owns online video platform Dailymotion and a stake in music streaming site Deezer.