Netflix model questioned by Discovery
By Kate Bulkley
For Broadcast June 03, 2016
Discovery’s top brass has raised questions about the global expansion of Netflix – claiming more localised services are more likely to succeed long-term.
Chief executive David Zaslav said broadcaster-led SVoD services such as Sky’s Now TV were better placed than Netflix because they had existing audiences and were able to offer more country-specific content.
Discovery operates two SVoD services – D Play and Eurosport Player and is aiming to sign up 1m subscribers to the direct-to-consumer services.
Speaking at the French Open, where Eurosport is broadcasting across Europe in nine languages, Zaslav said: “Netflix is a good company and has a great interface, and in the US because TV Everywhere [authenticated apps from pay TV services] didn’t get widely deployed, they have had massive growth. But it’s much tougher going outside the US.”
Zaslav highlighted the decision by Mexican broadcaster Televisa, of which he is a board member, to pull its content off Netflix in favour of its own service.
“[Content owners] say, I don’t want to seed Netflix, I want to own that myself,” he said.
Zaslav attributed Discovery’s international success to its efforts in offering a wide range of localised content. “You don’t want your content to be homogenised,” he added.
Discovery Networks International boss JB Perrette, echoed his point. “It’s fine to skim, but it’s hard to scale” he said.
Netflix operates in more than 190 countries.