Netflix takes on traditional TV as it launches first ever live channel

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 23: In this photo illustration, the Netflix media service provider's logo is displayed on the screen of a television on October 23, 2018 in Paris, France. The US video-on-demand company Netflix announced Monday it wants to raise an additional $ 2 billion to fund new productions. Netflix offers movies and television series on the Internet, the company has 137 million subscribers. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Having an endless supply of unmissable content at a user’s fingertips is what has made Netflix the number one TV and movie streaming service in the world. But the entertainment giant has dropped the on-demand approach which has made it a household name for its latest new feature. The California-based media behemoth has decided to go old school for its newest addition to its service by launching a traditional live TV channel.

At the moment this channel is only available in France, but it offers a curated real-time service which offers a schedule of content that subscribers can tune into.

Dubbed Netflix Direct, the feature began rolling out on November 5 and will be available to all Netflix users in the region by the start of December.

Netflix say they have begun testing this feature in France as traditional TV still remains hugely popular in the country.

And it’ll be a perfect addition for when you can’t decide what to watch and just want to tune into something and see if it tickles your fancy.

Netflix Direct will only be available on the web in France, and will offer some of the “best French and European content” the streaming service has to offer.

In a blog post Netflix product manager Emily Grewal explained: “At Netflix, we’re always looking to improve the consumer experience: whether that’s better ways to discover shows, pioneering new formats like interactive TV, high quality parental controls or our Top 10 row of most popular shows.

“In France, watching traditional TV remains hugely popular with people who just want a ‘lean back’ experience where they don’t have to choose shows.

“So we’re trying a new feature for our members in France – called ‘Direct’. Maybe you’re not in the mood to decide, or you’re new and finding your way around, or you just want to be surprised by something new and different.

“‘Direct’ is a web-based experience that’s the same for everyone who watches it: a real-time service that gives our members in France some of the best French and European content on the service – from Family Business to La Casa de Papel, The Crown to Unorthodox. Instead of choosing what to watch, you just want to start watching.

“We’ll begin with a small number of members on November 5, 2020 – and roll it out to all our members in France by the beginning of December. To access it, go to from a web browser, log in at, click on the “Direct” button at the top right of the page … and lean back and enjoy!”

In other Netflix news, a recent version of the Netflix app on Android hints at an entirely new way to binge the latest must-watch boxsets and movies.

As reported by recently, according to code buried within the latest iteration of the app, Netflix is looking into adding a new “listen-only” mode that lets you stream the audio from shows and movies while on-the-move.

The new feature was unearthed in the code for the 7.79.1 update for the Android app.

Until now, Netflix subscribers need to stream the video to hear the audio from their favourite show or film.

It may seem like a surprise addition to the service, but we can think of a few practical uses for the future.

The feature would help bolster Netflix’s accessibility settings and would mean those with visual impairments would be able to cut back on data use so their mobile plan is only being used for 4G data for audio, instead of audio and video.

The yet-to-be rolled out feature could also help people looking to multi-task who want to digest a programme or documentary like they would do when listening to a podcast series.