Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Desperately seeking Netflix in Spain

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!

If Netflix does decide to launch in Spain, I’m happy to act as a consultant- after all, some of the work is already done for them!


andrew said...

Pretty interesting. I am in Spain myself, just south of Alicante. But for streaming HD video I would beed a 20 Mb internet connection. Only in the bigger cities this is possible unfortunately. Would love those kind of speeds. I also think that the further south in Spain, the more people lead an outdoor life. Nice write up! Thanks for sharing. Regards, Andrew

Miriam said...

Hi Andrew, Thanks for your comment! Did you see that Netflix is launching in Spain soon??! It's interesting what you say about the internet connection. Is it not possible to haev a higher speed if you pay more? I'm sure the cities differ from the smaller towns in a lot of ways. Maybe Netflix will focus on certain cities/regions to start and then spread out.

Tode said...

Hi Miriam,

I see your post is from back July....

I only recently new about what Netflix is since it appears in my AppleTV. To me, it is a great idea to pay about 10Euro a month for unlimited video streaming. I don't like downloading horrible versions of films in pirate places, not knowing what they are, their quality, their language... its just too annoying. But I don't like either to pay 4.99 Euros to watch Transformers 3 with my kids in the Apple TV, and when we are ready with our pop-corns, coke etc., click the "Play" button and receive a nice "Donwloading..." icon followed by "the movie will start in 34 hours" (@£!@@£@!$%^@£$$£%@!).
This is clearly unacceptable, besides the fact that the film variety offer from Apple is ridiculously limited (I am starting to be fed up with Apple, after many years of being a fan... or am I not?).
Anyway, the question is: do you have any more news on this? I have just seen that Netflix finally launched in Britain! but when I accessed the Netflix pages, it said it is not available in Spain yet....
Any hint would be much appreciated.