Netflix approaches Israeli film and TV content creators

The US streaming giant has asked to examine the domestic content of several local media producers.

April 5, 2016 11:50
2 minute read.
Netflix logo

Netflix logo. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In the past few weeks, US streaming media provider Netflix has approached Israeli content creators about the possibility of licensing local content. Sources inform “Globes” that the inquiries were conducted by correspondence and included production and distribution companies working in film and television, including Reshet, Keshet, Channel 10, and children’s television show creators.

Netflix expressed interest in Hebrew-language content which had already been broadcast and is familiar to the Israeli audience. The streaming media giant asked to view the material and is presumably examining the possibility of licensing it in the future.

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This is not the first time Netflix has looked into the local market. In 2015, the company conducted research in Israel ahead of its launch in several countries around the world.

Netflix opened its English-language services to 140 territories in January 2016, including Israel. Since its launch, Israelis have been able to subscribe to Netflix – but are limited to an English-language interface and to content with no subtitles.

Experts believe Netflix wanted to measure demand for its services in each country before localizing the interface and content.

The email inquiry to the content providers and distributors – instead of through local representatives – proves there is a demand for the service in Israel, and it not unlikely the company has started preparing for creating a localized interface with familiar Israeli content.

Netflix made its reputation by amassing a rich library of movies and shows which it purchased from US content producers. The licensing deals – worth hundreds of millions of dollars – filled the coffers of the leading American networks, which sell Netflix shows which have ended their run.

Four years ago, Netflix began producing original content; some of its hits are House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones.

The company also introduced a new way to watch television – binge watching – as the company would release full seasons at once: forever upending the traditional broadcasting schedule of weekly episodes.

Netflix does not offer content through channels, instead relying on a massive video-on-demand library, which it has innovated over time. Its service is available on computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, and televisions.

According to its official figures, Netflix has 45 million subscribers in the US and 26 million more across the world – and that was before its international launch in January.

While the English-language service does not yet present an existential threat to the content libraries of Hot and Yes – it is likely to be seen as a complementary service – the entry of Hebrew-language content could help its market penetration in Israel and pressure traditional television comapanies.

The more original content Netflix produces – its main allure for the Israeli audience – the more it will become the perfect complement to the basic Idan Plus platform, as the former does not carry sports or news, which are important to the local media consumer.

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