After moving to Barcelona four years ago, I immediately felt a void in my life. That void has a name, and it’s name was: Netflix
Netflix was to me what Tivo was to Miranda.
It became immediately apparent that Spain is the land of online piracy. A practice that we were largely broken of in America, through the ever-present fear of fines and arrest, shortly after Napster went down. We were forced to return to Blockbuster and suffer their degrading and abusive late fees, until one day we were rescued by a little company called Netflix, who promised to put an end to Blockbuster’s barbaric practices and send DVDs to our house for a flat fee, with no late fees, whenever we wanted them.
When I arrived in Spain, the situation was drastically different. Online piracy ran free. Cinema visits dropped by the tens of percents every year. And video rental stores?! I could hardly locate one; when I did, the selection was awful. Store owners explained that they were being forced under by online piracy. Everyone told me to just stream what I wanted to see online. Even the mighty Blockbuster was brought down by the insatiable online piracy habits of the Spanish (2006).
At that time, there were few legal streaming options. Xbox offered a sad and meager section, which took hours to download. I don’t even know what Playstation had to offer. There were two Netflix-like companies charging abhorrently high fees for a similar (but far less robust) service.
I began to think this would be the perfect place for Netfilx to drop roots. Pirated online movies and series are rarely high-quality and often bring unexpected guests in the form of viruses. I contacted Netflix to ask if they were looking into new markets. They quickly responded by email telling me that they had no intention to go international (a ‘fact’ seemingly reversed recently).
In 2010, when deciding what company to use for the final project for my Masters in Marketing, I immediately thought of Netflix. When I explained the idea to friends, they mostly had the same reaction: why pay to watch a movie online when I can stream in on ThePirateBay for free?
I pressed on with the project, a business plan to launch Netflix in Barcelona. I learned a lot along the way.
Below is my final project, available in both English and Spanish, in honor of Netflix.
Perhaps the Ley de Sinde (I refrain from comment or analysis) will provide a new opportunity for Netflix in Spain. People here certainly do love to watch movies online!