Netflix, once known as a U.S. movie rental service, is going global with plans to offer services in over 200 countries by next year. The popular streaming service is looking to dominate the online TV market by rapid expansion, by both marginalizing traditional media companies and aggressively fighting a slew of tech companies entering the space.
With the aggressive expansion plans becoming apparent in recent days, analysts are wondering what that will mean for traditional media giants in foreign countries as well as rival tech companies, such as Chinese search giant Alibaba, which is also now solidly involved in creating television content.
Netflix is planning to enter Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong by early 2016, as it moves to complete its global rollout by the end of next year.
Netflix is currently live in 77 countries. Completing the 200 nations in the world circuit will mean the company expands into 123 countries by next year.
That’s two countries every week.
But the online streaming giant is not only ready, it has already began.
The service entered Asia for the first time when it went live in Japan this month. Earlier in the year, it launched in Australia and New Zealand. It will debut in Spain, Portugal and Italy next month.
The Los Gatos, Calif., based company will allow internet users in these countries to stream their favorite content anytime, anywhere, after subscribing. Further details that include pricing and programming will be disclosed to viewers later.
According to company chief executive Reed Hastings, “The combination of increasing Internet speeds and ubiquity of connected devices provides consumers with the anytime, anywhere ability to enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies on the Netflix service.”
For the foreign countries, the launch of Netflix will see increased traffic on incumbent carriers. In Australia, National Broadband Network’s (NBN) Bill Morrow told a press conference that the launch of Netflix caused a 60 per cent hike in their links.
Another likely effect will be that stories from around the world will become available to viewers millions of miles away. Netflix said it planned to “source great stories from around the world and deliver them to the world.”
In January, through a letter to investors, company executives said, “We now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years.” Through such an expansion, the service will be penetrating to parts of the world where it would be almost impossible for cable TV to reach. The company would thus usher in a new age of truly global programming offered to the entire world.