BLS Film Conference: Netflix Set Launch

ROME — Netflix will be launching in Italy by the end of this year, though it’s not yet official.

Confirmation emerged during a confab held by Italy’s Business Location South Tyrol — Alto Adige BLS film fund attended by top Italian, German, Austrian, and Swiss industryites.

An industry source tells Variety that Netflix will launch their Italian operation in the fourth quarter, most likely in October.

There was no comment from Netflix head of communications for Europe Joris Evers beyond reiterating that “we plan to be global by end of 2016.”

According to the insider, Netflix will face plenty of obstacles in Italy, where slow Internet is considered a major stumbling block to over-the-top content delivery to the country’s 14 million broadband homes.

“The broadband in Italy is still a huge problem in terms of the number of users you can reach,” the source said.

Top telco operator Telecom Italia said in March they are in talks to make a deal with Netflix under which Netflix would become available on their content platform. The telco has also pledged to give Italian broadband delivery a big boost over the next two years.

As for the impact of Netflix’s arrival in Italy for the local industry, it is of course a good opportunity to sell library content. But local industryites are concerned about how interested Netflix is, or will be, in local — Italian and European — fare.

The April 22-24 BLS Incontri confab was attended by the cream of the crop of the Italian, German, Austrian and Swiss film and TV industryites. Attendees included Marco Chimenz, prexy of Rome’s Cattleya; Jan Mojto, prexy of German powerhouse Beta Film; Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, managing director of Vienna-based auteur shingle Amour Fou; and Swiss producer Tiziana Soudani, founder and chief of Amka Films Productions.

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