Netflix and Mediaset Strike Multiyear Film Deal

Mediaset CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi Getty - H 2016
Courtesy of Getty Images

Pier Silvio Berlusconi's media empire and the streamer have inked a co-financing deal for seven feature-length movies.

Pier Silvio Berlusconi's media empire, Mediaset, has struck a multiyear deal to co-finance seven feature films for Netflix, with the streamer expected to contribute the majority of funding.

Mediaset CEO Berlusconi and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings are expected to announce details of the pact next week in Rome. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

Netflix has struggled in Italy since its entry into the country in 2015. The country lacks infrastructure in many key areas for high bandwidth streaming. Local theater chains have very publicly protested celebrating Netflix films at Venice and other top festivals. And just today, Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the streamer for alleged tax evasion.

But the American company is intent on expanding its reach in Europe. It currently has several Italian originals, TV shows Suburra and Baby and films such as On My Skin and The Ruthless, as well as several new series in the works. But none have yet garnered the same national buzz as shows like Sky Italia's Gomorrah or RAI's long-running Montalbano series.

The move is a win-win for both companies as Netflix forges a key partnership with the southern European broadcaster. The deal will also be key for Mediaset to achieve an international audience as other networks continue to strike global content deals. RAI is currently creating season two of the Neapolitan novels with HBO and Sky Italia has ZeroZeroZero with Amazon and The New Pope with HBO.