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September 15, 2014

Netflix building a subscriber base in Europe

France, Germany among markets opened up as locals protest.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Netflix is expansing in Europe after the video-on-demand site marked its long-awaited arrival in France today.

The California-based outfit said it would offer its video streaming services on set-top boxes provided by Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest telecom operator.

Bouygues said it would allow users of its current and upcoming boxes to access Netflix directly through their television sets from November.

The launch comes amid growing competition and criticism from French rivals.

French cable operator Numericable, which is set to merge with mobile firm SFR later this year, said it will launch a rival service to Netflix.

Canal +, France’s main pay-TV operator, has also launched its own streaming video service, while others are offering free content online to combat the new arrival.

French film producers have also warned of an "implosion of our cultural model" with the arrival of Netflix.

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Netflix said it plans to produce an original series in France, called "Marseille", in efforts to win over the French public.

Meanwhile, the company, which launched its service in the UK and Ireland in 2012, is also set to expand in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg later this month.

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