Reed Hastings, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Netflix, chose the occasion of a keynote speech at CES 2016 in Las Vegas to reveal that the Internet TV streaming service had launched globally, simultaneously bringing its platform to more than 130 new countries around the world.
“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” said Hastings. “With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”
For one monthly price, members around the world will be able to enjoy Netflix original series including Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Narcos, Sense8, Grace and Frankie, and Marco Polo, as well as a catalogue of licensed TV shows and movies. In 2016, the company plans to release 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series — available at the same time to members everywhere.
While largely available in English in most new countries, Netflix has added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.
“From today onwards, we will listen and we will learn, gradually adding more languages, more content and more ways for people to engage with Netflix,” said Hastings. “We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”
Netflix will not yet be available in China, though the company continues to explore options for providing the service. It also won’t be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria because of US government restrictions on American companies.
Since Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007, the service has expanded globally, first to Canada, then to Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to include 60 countries.
Netflix is available on virtually any device that has an Internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and game consoles, and automatically provides the best possible streaming quality based on available bandwidth. Many titles, including Netflix original series and films, are available in high-definition with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound and some in Ultra HD 4K.
Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight said that Netflix was now truly the first global online video service. “This is quite an accolade within a short period of time, but the exclusion of China is notable. However, local providers around the world should be worried and are now under pressure to step up. This also lays down the gauntlet to other web giants who are increasingly looking to strengthen their presence in video on a global scale. On that note, it increases the chances of Netflix being a takeover target given its expanding global presence, firm presence in households – especially in the living room – and more importantly a deep understanding of consumer’s behaviour and attitudes to video,” he added.