Netflix gets comfortable in Israel

Streaming service finally rolls out international and local programming in Hebrew.

By
July 26, 2017 16:21
2 minute read.
Netflix logo

Netflix logo. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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More than a year and a half after the content-streaming network launched locally, Netflix said it’s now “Israeli.”

On Wednesday, Netflix announced that it was now available to local viewers in Hebrew, with a price in shekels and translated and dubbed movies and TV shows – as well local Israeli content.

When the streaming service first came to Israel in January 2016, along with Netflix’s expansion to 130 countries worldwide, there were severe limitations which this latest rollout is looking to rectify.

The program’s interface is now available in Hebrew, when previously it was only listed in English or Arabic.

Payment is now available in shekels – NIS 29.90 for basic, NIS 39.90 for standard and NIS 49.90 a month for premium.

The different levels allow for HD quality and multiple simultaneous screens.

But most prominently, Netflix now offers subtitles or dubbing for 75% of its international content, as well as adding Israeli TV shows and linking up with local provider Partner.

Yann Lafargue, Netflix’s manager of corporate communications for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told The Jerusalem Post that the goal was to eventually localize 100% of the content.

“We are delighted to offer a more local Netflix experience in Hebrew where members can enjoy a variety of TV shows and movies – everything from globally popular Netflix original series to anime, kids content to standup comedies,” said Jonathan Friedland, chief communications officer at Netflix. “Israel knows great entertainment and now it’s even easier to watch the world’s favorite shows on Netflix anytime, anywhere.”


Partner, formerly known as Orange Israel, will offer a “dedicated Netflix button” on its remote control, according to the streaming service. Later this year the Israeli company, which only entered the TV market a month ago, will allow members to sign up and pay for Netflix through their Partner TV bill.

According to a Globes report in March, Israeli TV providers Yes and HOT are both concerned about the effect this partnership will have on the local market. In June, HOT’s parent company, Altice, signed a worldwide agreement with Netflix. But, according to Globes, Partner insists the HOT-Netflix agreement is inferior and narrower to this deal. Netflix’s announcement on Wednesday did not mention HOT.

In addition to local shows, Netflix has also been boosting the amount of international content available to Israeli users.

When it launched in Israel in January 2016, a study published by finder.com found that local users would have access to only around 10% of the streaming service’s offerings compared to the United States. This was in part due to preexisting licensing deals with local providers – including for some of Netflix’s original content.

Now users will have access to acclaimed Netflix shows like Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, The Crow, 13 Reasons Why and Narcos, among many other programs. Lafargue would not say what percentage of its catalog is now available for Israeli users. He did say that all original Netflix content is ready for streaming locally.

“We are planning to buy more [local content] and we hope to announce some local projects before the end of the year,” said Lafargue.

Netflix has already offered some Israeli programming around the world, including Srugim (Devout Love), Fauda, Bnei Aruba (Hostages), Hatufim (Prisoners of War) and Hamidrasha (Mossad 101).

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