Netflix Signs Distribution Deal With France's Orange

Orange is the New Black S02 Still - H 2014
Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Orange is the New Black S02 Still - H 2014

The telecom group will allow its 10 million French subscribers to access Netflix via Orange's set-top boxes

Netflix has closed a major deal in France that could greatly accelerate the growth of the streaming video company in the territory.

Just two weeks after launching in France, Netflix has signed a deal with Orange, France's largest telecom group, to have its SVOD service distributed via Orange's set-top boxes across the country. Orange has some 10 million subscribers in France.

The deal, which Orange CEO Stephane Richard confirmed Thursday, follows similar agreements by Netflix with Virgin Media in the U.K. and Deutsche Telekom in Germany. Netflix also has a deal in place with French IPTV service Bouygues set to start in November.

A deal with Orange had been expected but in addition to being Netflix' partner, the French group will also be a competitor. Orange plans to launch its own SVOD service next month through its pay-TV subsidiary Orange Cinema Services. Orange Cinema Services has an exclusive first-window deal with HBO. Established SVOD companies in France include CanalPlay, the platform run by pay TV giant Canal Plus, and FilmoTV, owned by cinema group Wild Bunch.

Netflix is already gaining ground on them, according to media reports, which claim 100,000 French subscribers have already signed up since Netflix's launched earlier this month.

Twitter: @sroxborough