Netflix Wraps Up European Launch week With Belgium and Luxembourg

It’s been a busy week for Netflix as they expand around the globe, and in the space of five days they have launched in six European Countries, with began with Belgium and Luxembourg being the final two.

Netflix-EuropeThroughout the week Netflix have launched their streaming service officially in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,which now means the service is available in around 40 countries and opens up an extra 63 million potential customers.

Netflix revealed the news in a press release which had CEO Reed Hastings saying, “We’ve received a very warm welcome throughout Europe. Consumers love choice – in series and films and in when and where they watch. We are delighted people are embracing Netflix in our newest territories and, particularly, the incredible viewer enthusiasm for our original series.”

Original Netflix shows will be available in some European countries for the first time including Orange is the New Black and Bojack Horseman. Upcoming Netflix series such as Fargo, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Penny Dreadful, will also be available.

Due to a strange quirk of fate, Netflix’s biggest original show, House of Cards will not be available in all the new countries as Netflix have already sold content rights to local broadcasters.

Netflix also promise local programming as well as dubbed and subtitledcontent for the newmarkets. The service will cost from EUR 7,99 monthly in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg and from CHF 11,90 in Switzerland. A one month free trial of Netflix is available on sign-up.

NBC Have A Problem… Child

In NBC‘s latest attempts to find a new hit show for their network, they have chosen to turn a movie into a TV show, not always a bad move to make.

junior_birdBut in this instance they have chosen to make a move into badness, with the announcement that the movie they are recreating for a TV audience is 1990s film franchise Problem Child.

The 3-film series, with installments released in 1990, 1991, and 1995, followed a caring father who inadvertently chooses a… difficult 7-year-old boy when he adopts a son.

The TV version is noted as being managed by Scot Armstrong (Old SchoolThe Hangover Part II), with instruction to create a ‘single-camera comedy’ adaptation of 1990’s Universal Pictures/Imagine film, which had starred John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck as the parents.

The TV spin-off, naturally, will not go anywhere ownership-wise, with Universal TV the studio on the credits, working with Peter Traugott’s TBD Prods. Armstrong is noted as being an executive producer alongside Traugott and Rachel Kaplan. No details have been released regarding casting, when production or airing will begin, or other details surrounding the sitcom.

Whether the idea will be a successful one is a big question for NBC, and while the premise is a good one for an entertaining show, public perception on the old movie is generally average, so will the series be well-executed, or bad to the bone?

Movie Studios Turning The Screw On Netflix VPN Loophole

The days of accessing Netflix from outside it’s territories by using a VPN (Virtual Prive Network), may be coming to a close. It’s an open secret that viewers around the world are using a service such as Hola or any number of other VPN’s both free and paid to watch more and better content from Netflix US.

netflix-piracyBut after getting roundly chastised by the boss of Australian Quickflix, Netflix are now said to be getting heat from even more content right holders. The news comes from CNET Australia, who report that movie studios including Warner Bros, and Universal are pressuring Netflix to stop Aussie users accessing the US Netflix streaming service.

Even though Netflix has not yet launched in Australia, it is estimated that nearly quarter of a million Aussies are streaming Netflix using a method that tricks Netflix into believing they are in the USA.

VPN services are legitimately used though by subscribers that do travel abroad, so a wholesale ban would be unpopular. And like piracy, stopping determined users from performing this kind of trickery would be impossible anyway.

Of course Netflix could just launch everywhere and stop using prehistoric content licensing practices for different parts of the world and everyone would be happy.

Judd Apatow Will Love Two Seasons On Netflix

The latest new addition to Netflix‘s ‘upcoming original series’ will be from the high-profile mind of movie director (and part-time The Simpsons writer) Judd Apatow, who has agreed to have his new concept airing exclusively on the streaming platform.

judd_apatowIn an unprecedented ‘two-season, straight-to-series deal’, Apatow’s new concept of Love, a ‘relationship comedy’ featuring Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs, will debut in 2016 with a 10-episode run batch, and followed in 2017 with a 12-episode second season.

It is noted that Love will have production coming from Apatow Productions and Legendary Television, whilst executive production staff members will include Apatow, Brent Forrester, and co-creators/writers Rust, and Lesley Arfin (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

Apatow said of the move to take on the format by Netflix: “I am so excited to get to work with Paul and Lesley on this project. Netflix has been supportive in ways I couldn’t create in my wildest fever dreams.”

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s ‘chief content officer’, summarised: “Judd Apatow has a unique comedic voice that manages to be delightful, insightful, and shockingly frank – often at the same time. Together with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern day comedy of manners.”

Having sent out a strong commitment with an order of 22 episodes (which… actually doesn’t balance out too well when compared with the length of one season on most network TV shows), will Love leave a strong impression and reward the faith of two guaranteed seasons?

Derek Due To Return For Final Special

Ricky Gervais creation Derek, of Channel 4 and Netflix fame, has announced that his series is due for a return beyond its most recent second season… for the length of one ‘special’ episode.

derek_netflix_knittedAn extension that would take the show’s final episode count up to a grand total of 14 across two seasons, Gervais has claimed he felt the time was right to end the show as with one closing installment.

Gervais had previously claimed to be toying with the ideas of either a special or a third season for the format, but has now apparently made his decision via his blog.

In an update mainly regarding upcoming The Office‘s David Brent-focused spin-off film Life on the Road, Gervais said of the future of Derek: “I did toy with a third series, particularly after the Emmy nod, but I decided to stick to my usual formula of two series and a special.”

The ‘usual formula’ comment is a reference to how both of his leading 2000’s shows The Office and Extras wound down, and to an extent reality travel series An Idiot Abroad (which had a short-length ‘third season’), and appears to be happening again with the Derek project, but what kind of legacy has the series warranted in its relatively short tenure? There is a historic bar for shows that last about this long:

London Live Kept In Line By Ofcom

A request to Ofcom regarding a change in network schedule has been denied for start-up channel London Live, with the city-specific station left stuck with their original ‘local content commitments’.

london_live_bannerAfter starting in March 2014, the localised EPG-filler for the British capital city had attempted to move away from being tied to ‘local content’ production requirements outlined when winning the EPG slot bid, looking to enable less specific shows to take their place in the schedule during ‘peak times’.

But following a ‘public consultation period’ after request submission, media regulators Ofcom have ruled that such proposals would “substantially alter” the ‘character’ of the London Live project, and have therefore rejected the idea.

An official report from the organisation stated of the London Evening Standard-owned network‘s plans and the reasons they were not to be going forward: “Ofcom decided that London Live’s application to change its programming would have substantially altered the character of the channel – making it much less local. The requested changes to the licence were not approved, as they didn’t meet three of the four statutory criteria needed for Ofcom to give its consent.”

London Live’s chief operating officer (COO) Tim Kirkman responded to the report with disappointment, stating: “I am disappointed by this outcome as I believe the changes would have allowed us to produce an even better product for Londoners. We had no plans to reduce the volume of fresh local content or news and current affairs, just the times we broadcast it. Not being allowed these changes is not critical, but will continue to challenge us. However, the business is continuing to deliver, with nine consecutive weeks of audience growth, and we are now reaching over 10% of Londoners every week, with last week our second-best week so far – only very marginally behind our launch week.”

Though the ruling may prevent them from truly challenging nation-wide channels in the manner they might want to, will keeping London Live Londonised at prime time be a better move for the channel’s own good in the long run?