Coming out of this week’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas is the news that SVOD giant Netflix has expanded into 130 markets globally, adding to its previous number of 60 countries.
CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings confirmed the expansion during yesterday’s keynote presentation at the event.
In the coming year, the company also plans to release 30 kids series, 31 new adult-targeted series, two dozen original feature films and a number of comedy specials. The content will still be primarily in English, however it also added Arabic, Korean and Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it supports.
Netflix will not yet be available in China (though Hastings promises to expand there as well), where it now faces heavy competition from entrenched players. It also won’t be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria, due to US government restrictions.
Netflix’s expansion strategy has largely been driven by a goal of reaching 200 countries by the year’s end. To date, it’s expanded into more than 50 countries, including most recently in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
In a report to shareholders released October 14, Hastings, along with CFO David Wells, said the company’s new-member forecast for the US proved too high. Netflix added 880,000 new subscribers in the quarter (for a total of 43.18 million), missing the target of 1.15 million.
In all, Netflix expected to finish 2015 at about 44.83 million US subscribers, up only slightly from 39.11 million at the end of 2014. Outside the US, global net subscriber additions totaled 2.74 million, compared to 2.04 million in the prior year, and well above the 2.40 million Q3 forecast. On the heels of its latest launch in Japan, Netflix had nearly 26 million members internationally. The company expects to end 2016 at 29.5 million following its roll out later this month in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Though Netflix has made big moves into international markets, expansions are never easy. Experts have noted that it took nearly four years for Netflix to break even on its expansion into Canada. In some markets, Netflix also faces big competition from local SVOD and OTT services, many owned by larger telcos (such as Aussie VOD Presto).