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Orange to distribute Netflix in France

Orange-is-the-New-BlackOrange is set to become the second French telecom operator to agree to distribute Netflix, with CEO Stéphane Richard confirming that the service provider has struck a deal with the subscription VOD provider.

Following Bouygues Telecom’s deal with Netflix, Orange has signed a deal with the US OTT provider to make its services available via its TV box. The agreement, initially reported by daily Le Figaro, was confirmed by Richard this morning.

Orange is the New Black platform Netflix has made a speedy start in France, with a reported 100,000 signing up since its launch earlier this month. At this rate, it would fast overtake Canal+ rival CanalPlay service, which currently has 520,000 users, but is only adding 15,000 subs a month.

The pair will have to compete with another entrant into the market, however. Besides confirming the Netflix deal, Richard said that Orange would launch its own SVOD service. Both services will be available via Orange’s TV interface on multiple screens, and will be launched at the beginning of November.

Richard said that negotiations with Netflix had been “hard” but had now produced a deal. He said he saw no reason to deprive Orange subscribers of a service they wanted access to via TV boxes.

It has previously been reported that the terms offered by Netflix were not acceptable to Orange and rival service provider Free.

Richard said Orange will launch its own SVoD service, possibly in partnership with another party and with an emphasis on French content. Richard said Orange hoped to strike a deal with a partner and rights holders soon, possibly at the same time as Netflix appears on Orange boxes.

Orange’s own OCS service is likely to be central to the SVOD offering. Orange also currently has a deal in place with US content provider HBO to air its series 24 hours after they air in the US, which could also be key to a future SVoD offering.

The deal between Netflix and Orange leaves SFR, Numericable and Free as the major remaining distribution platforms with no agreement in place. SFR is in the process of being sold by Vivendi, parent company of Netflix’s main rival Canal+, to cable operator Numericable, which is a major distributor of pay TV services in its own right.

Bouygues Telecom has agreed to deliver Netflix via its Bbox platform from November.