Netflix’s Israeli Catalog of Films, TV Severely Restricted

In Israel, only 143 series and 438 films will be offered – about 12 percent of all the company's series and 9.5 percent of its film catalogue.

FILE PHOTO: Netflix
Bloomberg

Despite the much-ballyhooed announcement of Netflix’s launch in Israel last week, it turns out the company’s Israeli catalog will be among the most restricted in the world, out of some 130 countries where the streaming service is available. And that’s aside from the fact that it offers no translation into Hebrew.

The data comes from Finder.com, a website that compiled a complete list of all the films and series available via Netflix in every country in the world where the company operates. The site also compared the content available in each country to Netflix’s full library – the one available to the American market.

In the United States, Netflix offers 1,157 series and 4,593 film titles. In Israel, however, only 143 series and 438 films will be available – about 12 percent of all the company’s series and 9.5 percent of its film catalogue.

Moreover, the films in question are the oldest in Netflix’s library. The newest film on the list is “Batman,” which is from 2008.

Thus, in terms of the percentage of Netflix’s library on offer, Israel ranks just above Indonesia and Jordan but slightly below Ethiopia and Madagascar. The restrictions are due to Netflix’s prior agreements with other service providers who have already bought the rights to some of its series.

The upshot for Israeli viewers is that instead of paying $8 a month for the local Netflix service, it makes more sense to use a technological workaround that allows them to pretend they’re surfing from an American Internet address.

Granted, the Israeli version will include the hit series “Breaking Bad,” but it won’t include other hit series like “Boardwalk Empire.” Most notably, it won’t include the blockbuster “House of Cards” series, since the broadcast rights had previously been sold to local Israeli companies.

For Netflix, the launch of its service in other countries is apparently a huge pilot project aimed at determining where the service catches on, how good Internet service is in each country, the size of each country’s potential audience and so forth. Based on the results, it will decide what languages to translate its offerings into and which countries should be given access to an expanded catalogue.