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French minister calls for local reaction to Netflix

French economy minister Arnaud Montebourg has called on the country’s audiovisual and digital industries to unit to offer alternative home-grown platforms in the face of an expected onslaught of “Anglo-Saxon” platforms on the French market, led by Netflix’s imminent launch.

In a long and wide-ranging speech on France’s economic development yesterday, Montebourg said that he and culture minister Aurélie Filippetti had jointly asked “French audiovisual and digital operators to unit to offer alternative platforms to the Anglo-Saxon offensives in culture and cinema”.

Montebourg said he had already asked Stéphane Richard, the president of Orange, in which the French government has an ownership stake, to act as “the flagship carrier of our sovereign digital revolution”. Montebourg also said he wasn’t averse to establishing European alliances in the audiovisual and digital arena.

Montebourg this week confirmed to news magazine L’Express that Orange planned to roll out a Chromecast-like device linked to a subscription video-on-demand service in the near future.

Netflix has announced plans to launch its SVOD service in five European markets, including France, before the end of this year.