Netflix may be coming to France soon, according to reports that the online video company met with French president Francois Hollande’s staff on Tuesday. The streaming service met with the French cabinet in order to discuss bringing Netflix to France — Europe’s third-largest market — and the legal conditions thereof.
Currently, Netflix is available in 41 countries. While the United States-based streaming service has primarily stuck to English-speaking European markets, a partnership with France would be a massive boon for the rapidly expanding platform.
While opening its service to the French seems like a no-brainer, Netflix has shown hesitation in the face of France’s complicated network of rules and statutes pertaining to film. As it stands now in the country, a film cannot be shown on a VOD subscription service until three years after first appearing in theaters. However, this rule does not apply for renting films on set-tops, which are only required to wait four months before offering recently-released movies.
This complex system of regulations was initially put into place in order to protect French producers and theaters. Of course, the extended time required to actually stream a film via VOD has made the launch of streaming services in France near impossible. Canal Plus, a French TV service, attempted to launch a Netflix-similar platform called Canal Play Infinity in 2011, but due to the above regulations has had limited success.
Netflix has not officially commented on the meeting. However, a French official informed Reuters that Netflix was attempting to “better understand the French system.”