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Just when people in Europe were starting to despair that it would ever happen, Netflix has now announced plans to expand into France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

However, before potential customers in those countries start celebrating, it is worth pointing out up-front that Netflix has an up-hill battle ahead of it – and this is probably why it was taking so long to officially start. And probably why there is no official launch date as of yet.

In France, a certain quota of television and movies has to be made inside France in the French language. Plus it faces the surreal situation of facing a television station that owns the rights to show Netflix’s House of Cards.

Germany will be the toughest nut to crack. A large amount of foreign programming in Germany is dubbed into German, and if Netflix has to do that for its content, that will become very expensive and very time-consuming. The country also has several popular video-on-demand channels already, as well as Amazon Instant Video.

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But if Netflix can overcome all of that, Germany could become one of Netflix’s most lucrative markets. The country has a very large and very fast broadband Internet infrastructure, and a large number of Germans are online. Plus the Netflix brand also carries some weight. The company also seems to recognize that not every country is the same, and that some tinkering around with the formula is required.

So when Netflix launches in these countries, will you be signing up?

Source: BBC News

  1. Spencer V
    May 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Netflix UK is terrible. It is full of shows and movies most peole have never heard of which is why people hack it to get the US version. Even the movies on the US version are dreadful.

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

      I agree that the content is not the best. You are not going to find the latest cinema releases for example. But it is not THAT bad. There are a lot of older movies that people haven't seen yet, and their selection of television shows are quite good.

  2. oll
    May 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    "In France, a certain quota of television and movies has to be made inside France in the French language"

    Actually, it's a quota of french and/or european production. Even for french production (Canal+ produces a lot of foreign movies for instance), they don't have to be in french language.

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 23, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I thought the French Government was very tough on a lot of things being in French only?

  3. EM
    May 22, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I'm German, and I'd absolutely wait to sign up until I knew what was on offer. The dubbing will probably be problematic, but I doubt it's in the way you mention - much of English-language content already exists in a dubbed version, if it's shown in Germany on TV or in the cinema, so Netflix wouldn't have to do that themselves. They might however for some reason decide to offer us only or mostly dubbed content, and that wouldn't be for me.

    Amazon Prime offers video streaming already, but ironically the vast majority of English-language movies and TV shows are available *only* dubbed on amazon.de. While I was researching whether there was some way to access content in English, I saw quite a few forum posts and so on either by bilingual Germans or by expatriates to Germany who were highly frustrated by that. A search for "OV", that is "original version" on Prime yields a grand total of 552 results, not all of which are actually un-dubbed. That makes the whole thing mostly useless for me at least, as I don't watch dubbed content any more unless I have to.

    Not so sure about the "Netflix brand". I'd wager a guess that quite a lot of Germans who don't regularly move in the English-language internet and don't read the tech sites, which is really the great majority of people, might not even have heard of it and won't understand the name (not knowing what a "flick" is), while they *have* heard of Amazon.

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

      My Netflix manual will be coming out soon and I will addressing this issue in the manual, but I will say this now. If you want to access the US version or the UK version of Netflix, get a Virtual Private Network. Tunnelbear is only $5 a month and it works perfectly.

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