Business Technology

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Netflix now has at least 250,000 Irish subscribers amid TV and movie boom

Winona Ryder in ‘Stranger Things
Winona Ryder in ‘Stranger Things
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Netflix is estimated to have at least 250,000 Irish subscribers, according to new data offered by the company. 500,000 households currently “have access” to a Netflix account in Ireland, according to a recent survey from the Irish telecoms regulator, Comreg, and Ipsos MRBI.

However, the television giant’s Vice President of Product, Todd Yellin, has said that each account has “two to three separate profiles”, adding that individual accounts are often spread over separate households due to families sharing them.

The comments suggest that Ireland has a minimum of 250,000 paying subscribers, possibly more.

At its annual ‘See What’s Next’ conference, Mr Yellin also said that Netflix is available on over 1,700 devices and that it tracks titles according to which of the 2,000 ‘taste communities’ it scores in.

Meanwhile the founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, told the event that internet TV is gaining the upper hand on “linear TV” in terms of growth.

He said that the company currently has 55 titles in production in the European (Emea) region.

The productions include a third series of the hit Spanish series, The Money Heist and a German production based on the novel ‘The Wave’.

Other series include productions from Poland, France, Norway and the UK, including a new thriller called ‘The Innocents’, based on a young girl who finds herself stuck with shape-shifting powers.

Meanwhile, the company has announced a number of new actors for the third season of its Stranger Things television series, Jake Busey and Cary Elwes.

The company is set to spend some €7bn on original programming this year, as it goes head to head with giants such as Disney, which is pulling its films from Netflixnext year as a competitive move. The move will only affect customers in the US. A spokesperson for the company said it will continue to do business with Disney companies on an ongoing basis.

Last week, Netflix announced that it has increased its global subscriber base to 125m, exceeding market estimates. The company is continuing to focus on international expansion, heavily investing money into signing up new customers outside the US.

It has been helped by a recent EU law that says subscription TV companies must allow their users to access content when travelling across the European Union.

While Hastings and other Netflix executives are at pains to distance themselves from data-slurping companies like Facebook, closer scrutiny may be coming in the near future. The company knows an extraordinary amount about each user’s personality, based on what they watch, how long they watch it for and when they stop or start a programme.

Netflix’s algorithms have found that most of its customers will drift away after 90 seconds if they haven’t picked something (and they usually browse 10 to 20 titles in that timeframe).

80pc of the television shows and films people watch on Netflix are estimated to be influenced by the company’s algorithms.

Netflix typically offers up access to topline information it has about users upon request, such as a user’s name, address, IP address and some of their (general) watching history. The company said it only supplies this to the individual user.

Netflix says that it’s working on further ways to give customers more access to their personal data in this vein. With Europe’s GDPR privacy law coming in next month, it may be prompted to do this sooner rather than later.

The company has recently found itself in a standoff with the Cannes Film Festival after the director of the festival said that the streaming firm’s movies would only be shown in non-competition slots.

More details about the TV series being launched by Netflix have been announced.

They include Netflix’s first Dutch original series, launching in 2019. They also include the French production ‘Mortel’, a story of teenagers bound together by a supernatural force. ‘Luna Nera’ is an Italian series about women suspected of witchcraft in 17th century Italy while The English Game will be a six-part drama about the invention of football and how those involved in its creation reached across the class divide to establish the game as the world's most popular sport.  Produced by 42 and written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

A new original comedy called ‘Turn Up Charlie’ will star ‘The Wire’ actor Idris Elba.

“With over 100 European projects launching this year, we are committed to being a voice for European entertainment, giving passionate local content creators a worldwide platform to share their vision, and offering consumers around the world unique and diverse stories they can discover and enjoy, anywhere, anytime and at the same time, no matter their place or language of origin,” said Netflix Vice President Ted Sarandos. “And this is just the beginning of our journey.”

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