As we fight for our Net Neutrality rights in the US, Europeans, who have their Net Neutrality rights already set in stone are about to get Netflix. Netflix has been the core of many of the Net Neutrality debates in the United States because of how successfully it has challenged the cable operators (who are also ISPs) traditional businesses. Netflix has announced they they plan to expand their service into more European countries than they are already serving, adding the two biggest countries in Europe.
So, in addition to the US, Canada, and basically ALL of the Americas, Netflix is also available in the U.K., Ireland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Netflix plans to add Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Effectively, Netflix is doubling the coutries that they’re serving in Europe, but in reality they’re more than doubling their potential audience with the addition of Germany and France, the two biggest countries in Europe.
While this news may be welcome by many, the sad truth is that the Netflix experience in the US is not going to be comparable to the one that Europeans are experiencing. Because of the way that content licensing works in Europe and who holds the copyrights it makes it incredibly difficult for Netflix to have the same size library in Europe as they do in the US. However, adding Germany and France into the mix should also increase the availability of content to Netflix users in Europe because of the sheer size of Germany’s and France’s media markets.
Realistically, though, we won’t really know what to expect from Netflix in these countries until the service launches, primarily because they will probably be making deals with content providers up until the last day. And if Netflix’s past experiences in the US are any similar to what they were in Europe, it will be a slow and steady improvement over time. But the good thing is that for shows like House of Cards, Europeans will not have to worry about whether or not they will get the content because Netflix owns the rights to it.