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Netflix ‘not worried’ by Vivendi, Mediaset

Netflix boss Reed Hastings has said he is not worried by the prospect of direct competition from the combined forces of Vivendi and Mediaset in Europe, adding that the SVOD company’s progress in Italy so far has been in line with expectations.

Reed HastingsVivendi and Mediaset, two of Europe’s biggest media companies, said yesterday they will join forces to create a new SVOD service.

In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Hastings said that Netflix faced competition in the US from rivals including Amazon, Comcast and Hulu, but that all had managed to grow. He said that it is clear that in Europe “the competition will be fierce and will do everything possible to create an interesting offering, but we are Netflix”.

Asked if Netflix’s progress in Italy – where the streaming video service is estimated to have around 200,000 subscribers – has been too slow, Hastings said that the company was investing heavily in the country and that he was confident that Netflix’s first Italian production, crime drama Suburra, will be a great success.

Hastings said that Netflix’s progress was in line with expectations. The company has previously said it planned to reach one third of Italian homes in seven years.

Hastings said that Netflix was working to secure the rights to future seasons of flagship drama House of Cards, for which Sky holds the rights in Italy, but admitted it would remain unavailable on Netflix for the time being.

He said he Netflix was getting closer to securing a deal for its other leading original, Orange is the New Black, which is currently distributed via Mediaset’s Infinity platform, and was confident that Netflix would be able to distribute the fourth season of the show.

Hastings said that Netflix still plans to launch in China, the largest market where it is not yet present, but added that securing licences was extremely complicated, while the availability of broadband infrastructure was also challenging.