Netflix in landmark deal to finance French cinema

Netflix has struck a deal with French cinema organisations committing it to invest about €40 million a year in French and European cinema in 2022, with a guarantee to invest a minimum of €30 million a year in French original movies over the next three years.

The agreement between the streamer and cinema organisations BLIC, BLOC and the ARP marks the first time that an SVOD player has agreed such a deal with the French movie industry.

Netflix has agreed to invest 4% of its revenues in France over the next three years, with a diversity clause earmarking 17% of prefinancing to French works with an overall budget of under €4 million.

The streamer has also committed to a minimum volume of 10 movies a year that will benefit from its financing.

The cinema groups said that the agreement confirmed Netflix’s position in the new windowing regime for French films that will see it benefit from a new window to show movies 15 months after they are released theatrically, with an opportunity to stream them exclusively for a period of seven months.

Netflix previously had to wait for 36 months to air films following their theatrical release. The new windowing structure was agreed in principle in January with Canal+ emerging as the major winner, securing the right to air movies six months after their theatrical outing.

Netflix’s rivals in France – Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video – will have to wait a further two months after Netflix to gain the right to air post-theatrical movies.

Other organisations declined to sign up. Copyright society SACD, which represents writers, said there was no justification for an agreement of three years’ duration, and argued that the agreement left open the possibility that films co-produced by platforms may sit on the shelf unseen for a long period after their theatrical run ends.

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