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Netflix 'thrilled' to bring Irish films, TV to global audience

The streaming service, which has just launched here, is planning to increase the amount of Irish-made content in its portfolio.

Image: Paul Sakuma/AP/Press Association Images

A NEW ONLINE film and TV streaming service which has just launched in Ireland says it hopes to bring Irish-made content to a wider international audience.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer with Netflix, told TheJournal.ie this morning that Netflix is “thrilled” to include Irish films such as In America, Once and Inside I’m Dancing in its portfolio for streaming online.

The subscription service launched in Ireland and the UK yesterday.

Sarandos said that the personalisation of the service, which offers suggestions to its subscribers based on their viewing choices, can help to bring Irish films to a wider audience as people who might otherwise not come across the Irish-made movies are given recommendations based on their own preferences:

You can search for anything you want, there’s tens of thousands of hours of content on Netflix, but the things that come up automatically are algorithmically focused on your taste.

Once you discover an Irish filmmaker, other films by that filmmaker will automatically rise to the top.

Sarandos said that regional licencing means that there are some differences in the shows and films on offer in Ireland to those available in Latin America, Canada or the US, but that the company is continuing to build its content. Netflix also plans to increase the number of Irish-made films and programmes available through its streaming service.

Illegal downloads

He also said he wasn’t worried about trying to convert people from free – but illegal – downloading to paying for films and TV programmes online, saying that the “the best way that you can combat piracy is with a very well distributed low-cost, high-quality product”.

“I think people don’t [illegally download] because they’re ‘bad’ people but because they have no alternative,” he said.

Newstalk and Spin 1038 film reviewer Sue Murphy says that the experiences of film rental companies here indicates that illegal downloading could be a “force to be reckoned with” for Netflix.

She added that although Netflix will have to compete with companies such as Sky which offers a record-and-playback service, this may be “the perfect moment to throw their hat in the ring”:

The streaming market in Ireland has not really been tapped into as of yet, besides the existence of Volta and Apple, and with rental and retail DVD sales plummeting, online downloading and streaming will most certainly prove the way forward.

Read more: Netflix launches in Ireland: but how does it compare? >

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