Netflix adds RTÉ shows
EPISODES OF RTÉ television dramas and comedies including The Clinic, Trivia, Killnaskully and Mattie will be added to Netflix in Britain and Ireland under a new deal between the broadcaster and the online subscription service.
A total of 140 episodes from RTÉ’s back catalogue will be available to Netflix members from Saturday, while series of restaurant drama Raw will also be available to its Irish customers.
Aisling McCabe, director of content and strategy at RTÉ Digital, says the deal gives audiences “more choice and more flexibility” in how they watch RTÉ content. Netflix, which costs €6.99 a month to Irish users, is accessible via more than 800 different devices including iPad, iPhone, desktop computers and Samsung’s connected TVs.
“From RTÉ’s perspective, our strategy is to be relevant to audiences wherever they are,” says McCabe.
Crucially, the Netflix deal gives RTÉ another window in which to sell its content. Its programmes continue to be available on the RTÉ Player for 21 days after they are first broadcast but, until now, their commercial life after that point tended to be confined to the DVD market.
“Everyone knows that the retail DVD business is in decline, so we’re looking at more opportunities to generate revenue,” says McCabe. “This extends our distribution business.”
Although most of the series added to Netflix are now finished their runs, RTÉ hopes Netflix customers will gorge on back episodes of programmes still being broadcast, then swell the ratings of the shows as new episodes go out.
For example, viewers who want to watch table quiz comedy drama Trivia, which returned to RTÉ One last week, but had missed the first series, could catch up via Netflix before watching the second series on RTÉ Player or as it is broadcast on Thursday nights.
Jonathan Friedland, chief communications officer for Netflix, says the RTÉ deal fits its strategy of offering serialised drama and comedy series “you can immerse yourself in”.
The RTÉ deal also follows its link-up with Irish film producers Element Pictures, which has seen 20 films, including Garage, Kisses and His Hers, become available on the service.
Netflix, which has one million subscribers across Britain and Ireland, declines to break out the subscriber count for the Irish market alone, although Friedland says penetration rates per capita are on a par with the UK.
“We love Ireland. We want to be able to do more here,” he adds.
He agrees with RTÉ’s expectation that the deal will help it pick up a UK-based audience for Irish programmes.
“I would assume so. There are certainly a lot of Irish folk living in the UK.”
Deals such as this have been on the cards ever since the broadcaster formally launched RTÉ Digital, the division that replaced RTÉ Publishing earlier this year with a new mandate to increase revenues from subscription and pay-per-view platforms.