Spain Has Piracy Problems But Legal VOD Market Growing

Netflix is highly unlikely likely to launch in Spain and Portugal in 2014, according to multiple sources, who don’t foresee the entire Southern European market getting Netflix for a few years.

And while Netflix made overtures to the Spanish biz in June 2011,offering distributors contracts for content at sky-high prices, the U.S. company pulled back, reportedly because of Spain’s high piracy levels.

Piracy is still a huge problem in Spain: 87% of Spanish Internet users still file-share unauthorized content or download from illegal sites such as Mega and Rapidshare, per the Cocktail Analysis, a Madrid-based consultancy.

“Netflix doesn’t see an investment case in coming to Spain because of piracy issues, as well as rights issues,” one analyst said, adding that OTT TV rights are mostly owned by Spain’s Canal Plus via its pay TV platform.

Yomvi, Canal Plus’ SVOD service, has its own ambitions to become the Netflix of Spain. The service has inked deals with all of the Hollywood majors who see Yomvi as a way to boost the value of Spain’s pay TV window. It’s also priced below a cable or satellite subscription at $14 per month, and airs U.S. shows nearly day and date with their American bows while offering complete seasons for binge viewing via TVs, iPhones and tablets. according to Arturo Guillen, Rentrak VP, EMEA.

That is “outstanding legal VOD growth,” he added, in a country written off until recently as an impossible piracy haven.

Canal Plus’ SVOD service Yomvi buys Netflix series from Sony. Season 2 of “House of Cards” was offered two days after its U.S. bow;

“Orange Is the New Black” was the sixth best ranking series on Yomvi in 2013. But the service depends on parent Canal Plus’ ability to buy expensive premium TV rights.

“This is a temporary strategy since it is very costly to offer first pay TV window to make our point, Finding a business model that makes sense is the challenge,” said Pablo Romero, Yomvi content director.

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