Netflix will launch in six more European countries this year, including Germany and France.
The digital subscription service will offer a mix of documentaries, Hollywood movies, TV series, local programs and films as well as Netflix original series such as scripted title Orange is the New Black. Full programming and pricing information will be announced at a later date, the company said.
The other countries included in the expansion are Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Launched in 2007, Netflix has more than 48 million members in more than 40 countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, Canada, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
The move will put the company in competition with existing video-on-demand services in the six countries, including Canal Plus in France and Deutsche Telekom and ProSiebenSat.1′s MaxDome in Germany as well as Amazon Instant Video.
Netflix’s continued success in Europe could depend on a variety of factors, such as dubbing content for the German market where the pay-TV penetration is also low.
“Germany potentially could be quite a difficult market as it has low pay-TV penetration and seemingly low willingness to pay,” media analyst Ian Maude from the consultancy Enders Analysis told BBC News. “One thing I’m curious to see in Germany is whether or not it has dubbed a lot of the show for the market because – while French TV has a lot of subtitling – in Germany foreign language movies and TV shows are generally voiced over, and that can be quite an expensive process.”
Another potential hurtle could be competition from outlets that own the domestic rights to Netflix-produced programs such as House of Cards. In France, Vivendi’s CanalPlay acquired the rights to the second season of the political drama.
French law requires broadcasters to invest in local production, but Netflix could get around this by basing the service in Luxembourg, according to BBC News.
According to Netflix’s most recent financial statements, the company topped US$1 billion in quarterly streaming revenue in the year’s first quarter. International membership was up by 1.75 million to 12.7 million and international revenues amount to 25% of Netflix’s total streaming revenue. The company forecasts that international market will eventually surpass the U.S. market.
Earlier this year, Netflix acquired the rights to documentaries Battered Bastards of Baseball, Mission Blue, E-Team (pictured above) and Print the Legend. The company made its first move into original documentaries last fall by acquiring The Square as the launch title for its Original Documentaries banner.