VIDEO INSIDER: Netflix Prepares To Expand In Europe

Welcome to our new Video Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital video industry, produced by BI Intelligence.

NETFLIX PREPARES TO EXPAND IN EUROPE: Netflix is making preparations to expand in Europe. The company is already operating in Ireland, the United Kingdom, parts of Scandinavia, and will soon launch its streaming service in Germany and France. Netflix is currently in the process of shoring up its international content distribution agreements. Each country will bring their own challenges in terms of licensing rights. France for instance has regulations in place that will prohibit films from airing on Netflix until three years after they have been released in theatres. The company must also go head to head with domestic competitors that have already secured a number of exclusive licensing deals. Despite these challenges, CEO Reed Hastings is optimistic about Netflix’s prospects in Europe. During Netflix’s fourth quarter earnings call Hastings said, “I think the key is having unique content, a great reputation, a good value proposition.” (Wall Street Journal)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We now live in a world where every device is a television … TV is just becoming video”-Richard Greenfield, media and technology analyst, quoted in the New Yorker‘s long-read piece on Netflix

COMCAST GAINS 43K SUBSCRIBERS, X1 GAINS MOMENTUM: Comcast reported positive news during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. Comcast gained 43,000 new subscribers with net income topping $US1.91 billion during last quarter. The company has invested heavily in updating its DVR and set-top box experience. Its X1 set-top box provides customers with a much-improved interface and access to streaming content through a multitude of devices, including smartphones and tablets. “Our results highlight the momentum we have achieved and how we are benefiting from scale, our investment in innovative products, and from our focus on operational excellence,” said CEO Brain Roberts. (Bloomberg, Comcast)

GOOGLE MAKES A PLAY FOR TV AD DOLLARS: Google may be ramping up its efforts to attract TV ad dollars to YouTube, according to a detailed exposé from Forbes. The company’s BrandLab service helps brands achieve the richness and quality of TV advertisements through online video. BrandLab has already worked with several high-profile companies, including Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Google could expand the service to compete with more established advertising agencies, such as Wieden+Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi, or TBWA\Chiat\Day. “Advertisers will have to go where the users go,” said Google senior vice president Susan Wojcicki. (Forbes)

WELCOME, VIDEO INSIDERS:The Video Insider newsletter covers the day’s most important topics in digital video, as well as news exclusives of interest to industry insiders. We look forward to the newsletter becoming an important part of your morning routine.

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CTIA TO TEST CHANNEL SHARING WITH BROADCASTERS: CTIA, the organisation that lobbies for the wireless industry, hopes to test channel sharing with two Los Angeles-based broadcasters. The proposal would have KJLA and KLCS deliver independent broadcasts over the same wireless frequency. CTIA is pressuring broadcasters to consolidate the airwaves so that more spectrum can be made available to wireless carriers at an upcoming FCC auction. Some in the broadcasting industry oppose channel sharing. “We want broadcasters to know that sharing means separating themselves from the future of broadcast television, by which I mean mobile, 4K, 8K (new high-definition formats) and multicasting,” said National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President Gordon Smith during a recent interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine. (Reuters)

I.TV ACQUIRES GETGLUE TO FORM TVTAG: i.tv, a company that powers second-screen applications for DirectTV and Nintendo has acquired GetGlue, a TV check-in and recommendation service. Now the company will launch a new second-screen app called tvtag that will combine both feature sets. The app will initially be available on iPhone, but Android and iPad versions will be released shortly after. The app will provide check-in and sharing features, as well as a curated tagging system that can be used to share comments and reactions. (Engadget)

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