Netflix moves into 130 more countries, nearly completes worldwide expansion

SAN FRANCISCO -- Netflix has already crossed off the biggest item on its New Year's list of resolutions. The Internet video service debuted in 130 countries Wednesday in a surprise move likely to reel in millions of new subscribers.

See Full Article

CEO Reed Hastings revealed the scope of Netflix's expansion at the end of a presentation in Las Vegas at CES, one of the technology industry's marquee events.

"You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network," Hastings crowed on stage.

The news caught almost everyone off guard because Netflix had previously set a goal of being available in most of the world by the end of this year. It looked like the Los Gatos, California, company had plenty of work ahead it because it ended December in 60 countries.

Now, Netflix is available in 21 different languages and streaming in just about every market that it had in its sights, with the notable exception of China, the world's most populous country. Entering China may be a formidable challenge requiring potentially prickly negotiations with a government that blocks its citizenry from seeing material it considers objectionable or incendiary.

In an interview, Hastings said the company will try to a partner in China while it tries to appease the country's Communist government, a process that he hopes to complete by the end of this year.

"The key in approaching the Chinese business is really working on relationships," Hastings told The Associated Press. "In the rest of the world, we are racing ahead."

Netflix currently has no plans to push into North Korea, Syria or Crimea because of restrictions on U.S. companies operating in those countries. The company's service also may not be an immediate hit in several other major countries, including Russia, Turkey and Poland, where it will only be available in English.

Nevertheless, investors were delighted with Netflix's quantum leap across the globe. Its stock climbed $10.02, or 9 per cent, to close at $117.68 on a grim day in the rest of the market.

The uptick in the shares reflects a belief that Netflix is now in a position to sign up more subscribers this year than analysts had previously anticipated, generating additional revenue that the company can spend on TV series and movies as it bids against rivals such as HBO, Amazon.com, YouTube and Hulu for licensing rights.

Netflix Inc. began the year with more than 70 million subscribers and management had already vowed to spend about $5 billion this year licensing video from studios around the world.

Increasingly, Netflix has been buying material that only can be seen on its service, with more than 600 hours of original programming lined up for this year. That slate encompasses more than 50 exclusive TV shows and movies, including award-winning series such as "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black."

Although Netflix is now virtually worldwide, not of all its entertainment will be available everywhere. For instance, a prized licensing contract that gives Netflix the rights to Walt Disney films after their theatrical release will be limited to the U.S. and Canada as part of a deal negotiated several years ago. Hastings told reporters Wednesday that Netflix is hoping to expand those rights into other countries.

Netflix has come up with a formula that has proven addictive as its service has transformed the entertainment industry by allowing people to watch video anytime they want on an Internet-connected device.

Hastings revealed Wednesday that Netflix subscribers watched 42.5 billion hours of programming last year, including 12 billion hours in the October-December fourth quarter. The fourth-quarter viewership volume represented a nearly 50 per cent increase from 8.25 billion hours the previous year. Put another way, Netflix subscribers are now watching a weekly average of 13 hours of programming, up from 12 hours the previous year.

In remarks to reporters, Hastings likened the near-completion of Netflix's worldwide expansion to a parent having a baby. "It's a big deal, but the real work is the next 20 years," Hastings, 55, said.

In a subsequent interview, Hastings said he hopes to remain at Netflix for those 20 years. "There is nothing else I want to do."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • No suitors emerge for Trans Mountain pipeline project stake as deadline looms

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - With just over a week remaining until the May 31 deadline set for abandoning its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, no suitors have publicly emerged to step into builder Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s shoes. Source
  • Looking for a better work experience, millennials may be saving the franchising model

    Economic CBC News
    Millennials are showing increasing interest in a traditional sector of the economy, as young Canadians buy into franchise brands and create new franchise concepts. Though jobs numbers in Canada are generally improving, many millennials continue to face the prospect of precarious employment. Source
  • Tens of thousands of Las Vegas casino workers vote to strike

    Economic CTV News
    Las Vegas casinos could watch tens of thousands of employees walk off the job for the first time in more than three decades after union members voted to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1, a move that could cripple the city's world-famous resorts. Source
  • Asian shares drop amid worries over U.S.-China trade

    Economic CTV News
    TOKYO - Asian indexes were mostly lower on Wednesday as investors shifted their attention to uncertainties over a planned U.S.-North Korea summit after the perk from eased U.S.-China trade tensions faded. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 1.3 per cent to 22,661.88, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched down nearly 0.2 per cent at 6,031.40 in early trading. Source
  • Toronto Millennials dream of backyards but are stuck in condos: report

    Economic CTV News
    Toronto Millennials are the most educated group in Canada, but high housing costs are keeping some of the country’s most qualified workers in their parents’ basements or pushing them out of the province altogether, a new report suggests. Source
  • Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg apologizes to EU lawmakers over data leak

    Economic CBC News
    Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg apologized to European Union lawmakers on Tuesday for a massive data leak, in his latest attempt to draw a line under a scandal that has rocked the world's biggest social media network. Source
  • What your kids should know about money in kindergarten, grade school and high school

    Economic CTV News
    Too many Canadians are reaching adulthood without the skills to successfully manage their financial futures, according to personal finance coach David Lester. The best way he sees to build that knowledge is for parents to start schooling their kids about money as early as possible. Source
  • The New York Stock Exchange just named its first female president in its 226-year history

    Economic CBC News
    The New York Stock Exchange for the first time in its 226-year history will be led by a woman. Stacey Cunningham, who started her career as a floor clerk on the NYSE trading floor, will become the 67th president of the Big Board. Source
  • New York Stock Exchange just named the 1st female president in its 226-year history

    Economic CBC News
    The New York Stock Exchange for the first time in its 226-year history will be led by a woman. Stacey Cunningham, who started her career as a floor clerk on the NYSE trading floor, will become the 67th president of the Big Board. Source
  • Ex-Valeant, Philidor executives convicted of kickback scheme

    Economic CBC News
    A former Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc executive and the former chief of mail order pharmacy Philidor Rx Services were found guilty on Tuesday of defrauding Valeant through a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. The verdict, handed up by a jury in Manhattan federal court, comes on the heels of Valeant's announcement that it will change its name to Bausch Health Companies Inc as it seeks to distance itself from a series of scandals under its previous management. Source