Interviewed by Radio Classique after Orange’s full-year results announcement, Richard said that he believed Netflix would launch a service in the autumn.
He said that Netflix had contacted France’s fixed-line operators with a view to doing a deal but that no clear plan had yet emerged. He added he wasn’t sure which distribution model the US subscription video-on-demand service would adopt.
“It’s not clear what distribution model they want to have: whether it’s a pure over-the-top model like they have in the US or a model anchored on operators’ [set-top] boxes,” said Richard. “I believe they haven’t yet decided that.”
Richard indicated that any agreement would be predicated on a satisfactory outcome of talks between Netflix and French officials covering support for content creation, respect for French regulations and tax arrangements.
Orange is seen as the most likely fixed-line partner for Netflix in France as it is the largest broadband provider and rivals Bouygues Telecom and SFR are linked through ownership to large media groups in the shape of TF1 and Canal+.