Best columns: Europe


Losing our culture to Netflix

Le Nouvel Observateur


“The American monster of online video,” Netflix, is coming to devour French television, said Claude Soula. The service launches in September and hasn’t even had to advertise—“the French press has been so enamored with it that they devoted pages and pages of coverage.” France already has several similar TV on demand services, but the media weren’t interested in those, partly because they have fewer shows and partly because “anything that comes from Silicon Valley has an aura that nothing made in France can match.” Canalplay, a French streaming service, has tried to fight back with an ad blitz featuring John Malkovich, who appears in commercials dressed as a vampire and says in French, “Since I am immortal, I joined Canalplay, so I can watch thousands of films without stopping.” The effort to woo French viewers by using an American actor “seems cheap and pathetic” and only underscores how little Canalplay has to offer compared with Netflix. The American company has promised to offer 20 percent French content, and CEO Reed Hastings even joked that he will produce a new show called House of Versailles. He needn’t bother. The French have already cleared their calendars so they can binge-watch Orange Is the New Black.

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