Service similar to Netflix to bow later this year

BERLIN — Gallic media conglom Vivendi looks set to launch a VOD service in Germany this year in a major move that could see a rapid expansion across Europe.

Stefan Schulz, head of Vivendi’s newly established German VOD division Multiscreen Entertainment, told German newsmagazine Focus that the company would launch a Netflix-like service in the latter part of the year. The service will start in Germany before rolling out throughout Europe, offering a flat rate subscription for unlimited video content on all end devices.

Vivendi appears to be pulling out all the stops for the ambitious project. The service would start “with a relatively big impact,” said Schulz.

Vivendi and Multiscreen are entering an increasingly competitive VOD market in Germany, which already includes established players such as Amazon-owned Lovefilm, ProSiebenSat.1’s Maxdome, Deutsche Telekom and cable giant Kabel Deutschland.

A Vivendi spokesperson in Paris had no comment regarding the project. It remains unclear how the new venture will impact the existing German VOD deal between Studiocanal, the film production and distribution division of Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group, and Lovefilm. Studiocanal has a long-term exclusive deal with Lovefilm for Studiocanal Germany’s new films and a non-exclusive agreement for its library titles.

John Hopewell contributed to this report.

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