Netflix in Talks with Potential Belgium Partners
U.S. video streaming service Netflix said on Friday it was in talks with cable and telecoms groups to distribute its content in Belgium as it launched its on-demand service in the country.
Netflix is talking with telecoms group Belgacom and cable operators, it said, in an effort to mirror distribution deals with Deutsche Telekom in Germany and Bouygues in France.
While Netflix is available online and many newer TV sets and media players have a Netflix application built in, partnering with a telecoms company may help reach those customers who do not have access to such technology.
"If Netflix is available on the same remote and decoder as traditional TV, it will be even simpler to watch Netflix on a TV set," a spokesman for Netflix said in an email response after confirming talks were ongoing.
Cable operator Telenet, which has two million TV subscribers, said it was not in talks with the U.S. group.
Telenet, majority owned by U.S. company Liberty Global, has feverishly stepped up its preparations for the arrival of Netflix by launching its own on-demand library.
Voo, which has nearly 1 million subscribers in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, is Belgium's other major cable TV operator.
On Wednesday, Telenet announced it had renewed its partnership with U.S. broadcaster HBO for exclusive access to its hit series such as Game of Thrones, and announced it would start to make its own Dutch-language TV series.
Former state telecoms monopoly Belgacom, which has 1.5 million TV customers, and Voo declined to comment further.
Netflix launched its service in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg this week for 7.99 euros ($10.28) or 11.90 Swiss francs ($12.69) per month.
It is also available in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.