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Netflix gains Altice distribution

Netflix has extended its distribution in France, Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic through a multi-year agreement with telecoms and cable operator Altice.

In France, Netflix will be available on Altice’s IPTV and cable platform SFR as part of the SFR Family! offering from tomorrow, with the other countries coming on stream in the following months.

It is a major deal for the US streamer in France, where until now it has had agreements with Orange and Bouygues Telecom, two of the country’s four IPTV providers.

Half the population watches TV through IPTV in France and the Altice pact means Free is the only provider yet to offer Netflix carriage.

Altice is currently strengthening its third-party channels and platform offers, looking to establish itself as a content rival to Canal+ Group.

It has signed several exclusive distribution and content supply deals for SFR with major players such as NBCUniversal (NBCU) and Discovery Communications, taking their channels away from Canal+’s packages and platforms.

It has also secured an exclusive NBCU movie and series supply agreement for its own SVoD platform, SFR Play, and its studio arm has joined as a coproduction partner on Sky drama Riviera.

Fans protested when Netflix axed Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s Sense8

Meanwhile, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has cast more light on the streamer’s high-profile cancellations of The Get Down and Sense8, saying the show’s were too expensive for their meagre audiences.

The US-based company prompted an outcry from fans when it cancelled sci-fi drama Sense8, from The Matrix duo Lilly and Lana Wachowski, after just two seasons this month.

That came just a week after Netflix brought the curtain down on Baz Luhrmann drama The Get Down, widely thought to be the streamer’s costliest ever show, after just one season.

Sarandos said the decisions came after questioning whether the outlay for the shows was returning a suitable audience.

“Relative to what you spent, are people watching it? That is pretty traditional,” he told Jerry Seinfeld at the PGA’s Produced By conference in Hollywood over the weekend.

“When I say that, a big expensive show for a huge audience is great. A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard, even in our model, to make work very long.”

Netflix has also axed Marco Polo, Lilyhammer and Hemlock Grove, and last week CEO Reed Hastings admitted the streamer had not cancelled enough of its shows, adding its hit ratio “is way too high right now.”

Sarandos added: “Not to put words in his [Hastings’] mouth, but what he meant was that Silicon Valley celebrates failure.

“It’s one of those things that you know you’re pushing the envelope if every once in a while you fall. And you go back and start over again. If you have hit after hit after hit, you question yourself – are you trying hard enough? Are you too conventional?”

In related news, Netflix is set to make a 13-episode order for Insatiable, the hour-long drama that was passed over by The CW earlier this year.

The 13×60′ series is from CBS Television Studios and revolves around a disgraced lawyer and beauty pageant coach who takes on a vengeful teen as his client, unaware of the effect she will have on the world. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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