Netflix to launch web streaming TV service in Spain

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By Larry Banks

Netflix is preparing to launch a new service in Spain in October, but the company’s CEO, Reed Hastings says that the country’s rampant piracy has basically laid the groundwork for Netflix’s success.

“Well, you can call it a problem, but the truth is that [piracy] has also created a public used to viewing content on the Internet,” he told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

A hotbed of piracy

Spain has long been a stronghold for piracy. In March this year, a report said that 2014 was the biggest ever year for piracy in the country, with 88% of all digital media being obtained illegally. In 2012, WikiLeaks release cables from the US ambassador to Spain, showing that Spain nearly ended up on a US trade blacklist as it wasn’t doing enough to prevent illegal sharing of files. In 2013 Spain had managed to get back into favour, and in January this year the country introduced much-needed legislation to force ISPs to block copyright infringing websites.

The country is now starting to prevent piracy, and this is where Netflix might have a chance.

“We offer a simpler and immediate alternative to finding a torrent,” Hastings told El Mundo. “In Holland we had a similar situation. It was a country with a high rate of piracy. And the same thing happened in Canada. In both we are a successful service. We can think of this as the bottled water business. Tap water can be drunk and is free, but there is still a public that demands bottled water”.

Hasting also said to El Mundo that Netflix would launch a smaller catalogue in Spain, and will expand as it signs up subscribers.

“In the UK, for example, we now have a fairly extensive series and movies after three years of activity there”, Hastings said. “In Latin America too, but is much easier to negotiate and acquire rights when you buy a large size like we have now in the United States”.

Netflix will launch in Spain this October with a price of around 8 Euros per month, somewhat cheaper than than £6 a month users pay in the UK. However, unemployment in Spain still hovers around 24% and so it might be an uphill struggle to convince people to switch from downloading their content illegally.

SOURCE: Ars Technica.

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