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Netflix makes it official, launches in the Netherlands

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Netflix (s NFLX) continued its international expansion by launching in the Netherlands late Tuesday night, where consumers can now subscribe to the service for €7.99 a month (about $10.61). With the launch in the Netherlands, Netflix is now available in more than 40 countries, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K. and Sweden.

Like any of the company’s other international offerings, the launch in the Netherlands is streaming-only. But unlike previous launches, Netflix is heavily using its original content to promote the service.

Dutch press has been invited to a news event Wednesday that will feature Hemlock Grove star Famke Janssen, who was born in Amsterdam, alongside of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and a press release sent out to announce the launch prominently mentions Netflix shows like House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black as some of the content available to Dutch subscribers.

Other content mentioned notably includes high-profile Showtime dramas like Dexter and Homeland, which both aren’t available to U.S. subscribers.

Netflix has slowed down its international expansion in recent months, with the Netherlands marking the only country that Netflix set up shop this year. In 2011, Netflix rolled out its service in almost all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and in 2012, it expanded into a total of six European countries.

This slowdown has in part to do with costs, which investors have been concerned about. However, the choice of the Netherlands also seem to point towards a more focused approach, with Netflix looking for markets that offer the best opportunities for growth. Hastings mentioned as a key factor for the choice of this new market in the company’s launch press release, which quotes him saying:

“The Dutch have incredible broadband, but until today have not been able to take full advantage of their fast connections.”

Netflix didn’t officially announce a launch date for the Netherlands ahead of time, but didn’t exactly put a lot of effort into keeping it a secret either: Apps for the service started popping up on various app stores earlier this week, and local press had been speculating about a launch on Wednesday for some time.

7 Responses to “Netflix makes it official, launches in the Netherlands”

  1. Unfortunately the subtitle is mainly Dutch which is fine with english speaking movies but useless with the beautiful scandinavian crime series. Why can’t there be a general international version for all english speaking audiences? There is no need to push a local language in our global community. The regional broadcasters will take care of this. Netflix should be about freedom of choice.

  2. hendrikrood

    The Dutch TV market will be a tough one for Netflix

    Pros: 7.5 mln households, 90% having broadband (Statistics Netherlands), and average peak download rate 38.2 Mbit/s (Akamai, State-of-the-Internet). 95% of homes already has NextGen Access available.
    TV-shows and movies are subtitled, only children movies are overdubbed in Dutch. High levels of understanding English.
    And as an additional juice for OTT: net-neutrality laws are enacted.

    Cons: very stiff competition. VoD-service offered by cablecos UPC (Liberty Global) and Ziggo (together 6.7 mln homes passed) as well as DSL/FTTH IPTV services of KPN (more digital subscribers now than UPC) and Tele2 (already content agreements with Time Warner and Disney since 2008).
    Independent OTT VoD-operator Videoland recently acquired by RTL Bertelsmann. Other VoD offered by Pathé Thuis, subsidiary of the market leading Pathé multiplex and movie chain (since 1896).

    But the stiffest competition might come from broadcasting. Public television leads in OTT delay-TV at traffic levels twice the UK’s BBC iPlayer and 3 times what is seen in the USA.
    RTL and SBS offer their own delay-TV.

    And then network broadcasting stil has reality shows (the Voice of Holland, Farmer seeks wife) with regular audiences of 4 mln.

    A 4 mln audience would already be considered acceptable in the USA. However in The Netherlands it implies 25% of the entire population watching.

    I am not aware of any reality-show in the USA with 75 mln viewers (which would be comparable). Champaign bottles would exploded at any US broadcasters offices if they would get such ratings.

    Price levels for basic and enhanced CATV are around €15 – €20 pro month. The higher end is for HDTV and hundreds of digital channels.

    Satellite TV and Digital Terrestrial entry level subscription are at €8 pro month. The price set by Netflix.

    Netflix thus ventures in a market with very stiff local competition, pricing much closer to its subscription and higher traffic levels for OTT video than in any of their markets up to now.

    It will be very interesting to see if they will be making a dent. They might carve out a niche by early launching HDTV and 4K shows early on. Broadband capacity is available to support 4K, but dedicated content might be a real issue in a relatively small language area (total native Dutch speakers including Flanders is ca. 23 mln).

  3. hendrikrood

    With 7.5 mln households, 90% broadband (Statistics Netherlands), average peak capacity of 38.2 Mbit/s (Akamai State-of-the-Internet) and net-neutrality laws in place, The Netherlands certainly is fit for Netflix streaming.

    Also, it is a subtitling market, not one used to overdubbing except for child movies.

    Key issues are however that delay-TV is already in massive use since 2000 and at traffic levels that far outstrip the USA and UK. Public television is leading in delay-TV with commercial competitors RTL and SBS also active.

    VoD local players are already active in this market for quite some years. RTL Bertelsmann very recently acquired Videoland, the largest independent VoD-player.
    Pathé Thuis is a subsidiary of the large European cinema chain Pathé (since 1896) which uses it to bypass TV-distribution over the Internet straight into the living room alongside its multiplex chain. As Pathé still is a major movie (co-)producer alongside its theater business it is a competitor to reckon with too.

    And then there is VoD owned by the two major cable companies UPC (Liberty Global) and Ziggo, who have their own settopboxes in the living room.

    Finally their is VoD from KPN and Tele2. KPN with its IPTV recently surpassed UPC in total digital subscribers and offers VoD together with Videoland, while Tele2 has deals with Time Warner and Disney since 2008.

    As a final point monthly cable subscriptions are at €15 (basic, 30 analog, 60 digital TV) to €20 (extended, HDTV and hundreds of channels) while satellite from CanalDigitaal starts at €7.99 too.

    As a final point besides major sports events, there are still broadcast TV-shows (The Voice of Holland, Farmer seeks Wife) on both commercial and public TV that have regular audience figures of 4 mln (a quarter of the population).

    In absolute numbers 4 mln viewer series would get a continuation go in the USA. As a percentage of the population, 25% of the entire population, would result in champaign bottles opened immediately at any major US broadcaster. I am not aware of any regular network TV-show in the USA that would rake in 75 mln viewers every week on its own strength. In the Dutch TV-market those kind of ratings hogging TV-shows still exist.

    So Netflix faces a set of genuine experienced VoD-competitors and monthly price levels for digital TV service that are far lower than in the USA or UK, while usage levels are higher and big-broadcasters still regularly hit ratings that would be the dream of any US network executive.