Netflix preps Europe launch

Online movie rental service Netflix appears to be recruiting staff in preparation for a major European initiative as soon as the second half of 2011.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admitted late in 2010 that the company would consider expanding to Europe and Asia once the results of its Canadian operation, which it launched in the autumn of 2010, became clear. Several weeks ago, Netflix was understood to be hiring multilingual specialists for its customer support center in Oregon.

Now sources say that the company has begun high-level staff recruitment to oversee its European business, and that the company’s has multiple job listings in its Los Gatos, California, headquarters that appear to be related to a European launch.

A listing for a director of global marketing communications says the expansion into Canada has been successful, and gives an explicit date of the second half of 2011 for further international expansion. “Early Canadian results are encouraging, and Netflix is tracking to be profitable in Canada late in 2011. If we continue to gain confidence in a large return on our Canadian investment, and we have confidence in the financial return on further geographic expansion, then we will look to grow beyond the US and Canada in the second half of 2011,” reads the listing.

A separate listing for a senior online marketing manager says the company is looking for staffers to “set up and then manage all aspects of online advertising (paid search, banner display, affiliates) for a particular country/region” and is looking for people fluent in “Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), and Spanish (Latin American and European).”

Other listings include bilingual training supervisors and quality assurance specialists with fluency in a bunch of European languages, and software engineers to build a “scalable and globally available payments system” and “streamline integration with payment processors globally.”

Any European launch would put Netflix into direct competition with LOVEFiLM, the DVD-by-mail company acquired by Amazon earlier this year.  Dominant UK supermarket chain Tesco has also recently acquired online service blinkbox.

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