France’s revamped windowing gives Netflix faster access to new movies

After months of heated debate and clashes, the French film industry has established new windowing rules for films released in local theaters.

The rules will apply to exhibitors, pay and free-to-air TV channels and subscription services. They are expected to be signed by French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot later on Monday (January 24).

Netflix is ​​the only streamer to have signed the deal and will therefore benefit from having access to new films 15 months after their theatrical release, compared to 36 months under previous windowing guidelines. This last rule is largely responsible for the absence of Netflix at the Cannes Film Festival since the event requires each film in competition to have a bow in theaters in France.

“This agreement is a significant first step towards modernizing the media chronology. This reflects both our constructive contribution to the negotiation process and our commitment to contributing to the French cinema industry,” a Netflix spokesperson said. Variety. The streamer hopes to get a 12-month window when the rules are reviewed next year.

Netflix, which launched in France in 2015 before all other global platforms, will invest around 40 million euros ($45 million) a year in around 10 independent films whose rights will be owned by their producers and creators. A diversity clause also forces Netflix to spread its investment over smaller films with budgets under 4 million euros.

Other services, including studio-backed streaming services such as Disney Plus, have not signed the deal and will therefore have a 17-month window on new pictures. Negotiations with these banners have failed, as windowing rules give free channels an exclusive window on films they pre-purchase 22 months after release. This means that Disney Plus, for example, should have temporarily removed its films from its platforms during the months when its films were broadcast on French television.

“The main reason Disney Plus doesn’t want these windowing rules is because their strategy is to launch streaming movies as close to theatrical release as possible – 45 days later in the US and many other places. countries – so they see it as a big burden to have to wait 17 months to get the movies they’ve funded to their subscribers,” an industry insider said.

Despite the fact that only Netflix signed the new windowing agreement, these rules will apply to all platforms. The pact only required the signature of a single streamer to be enacted. Some industry players are concerned that Disney may choose to launch certain films directly on Disney Plus in France to avoid being subject to the country’s windowing regulations.

The new streaming windows complement the rules set out in the local application of the European Union’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS), which sets local content quotas for streamers across Europe.

Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus recently signed a long-term agreement with the CSA to start investing 20% ​​of their annual revenues in French content. The CSA expects an investment of between 250 and 300 million euros on average per year.

WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Paramount Plus are set to launch in France later this year. The two began ordering local original content.


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