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Netflix boss makes France TV promise

"We want to invest in French content" CEO says as online video giant reveals it has 50million worldwide subscribers

ONLINE video on demand service Netflix yesterday formally confirmed it would launch its service in France and five other European countries in September - but there is still no official news on how much subscriptions will cost.

The widely anticipated news came as the online video giant announced better-than-expected earnings and revealed that it now has more than 50million subscribers in 40 countries.

Although the company has not formally announced what date in September it will launch American business and technology website ZDNet has said services could start in France on Sunday, September 14.

Netflix has also not yet revealed how much it is planning to charge subscribers in France, though existing subscribers in America pay $7.99 per month for the next two years, while new members will have to fork out $8.99.

Nor did the company say whether it will offer an English-language soundtrack option in France, as it does in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

But, at a press conference to announce the quarterly earnings, CEO Reed Hastings repeated an earlier promise to invest in original French content.

He said: “We want to invest in French society and French content. And we want to give an avenue for French content to get out around world.”

He joked: “We’re looking to make some investments with original content. So instead of House of Cards, it might be House of Versailles…

“That’s not literally the kind of thing it would be - but something like that, where it’s a big French production that’s not just for France, it’s for the whole world.”

The American-based company said second-quarter earnings more than doubled as it added 1.7 million worldwide subscribers but warned that its expansion plans - which will see services launch in France as well as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland in the next two months - would hit profits in the third quarter.

"This launch into markets with over 60 million broadband households will significantly increase our European presence and raise our current international addressable market to over 180 million broadband households," it said in a letter to shareholders.

It said that it expected to add a further 3.7million subscribers to its list by the end of the current trading quarter in September.

Netflix launch confirmation yesterday came a day after France’s culture minister Aurelie Filippetti announced plans to cut the delay between a movie’s cinema release and its Video on Demand (VoD) premiere - but only for broadcasters that contribute to the French film industry.

Netflix is the home of hit shows House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange Is the New Black, which picked up 12 of the online broadcaster’s 31 awards at this year’s Emmys.

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