ONLINE video service Netflix took a major step towards global dominance this week, announcing its expansion to 130 more countries worldwide.
The announcement marked a significant push for the streaming service into Asia where it is now available in every country, with two notable exceptions. The popular streaming service will remain unavailable in China and North Korea for the time being.
“Given the choice, people are willing to pay a fair price rather than resort to piracy,” said Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. “Today we are in nearly every country but China.”
Having previously launched in Japan, Netflix is now available to subscribers in nations like Thailand, Singapore, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
However, not all content will be available in every country. A useful comparison by Tech in Asia shows that many popular shows available in the U.S. – such as Agents of Shield and Breaking Bad – will not be available in countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Further concerns have been raised over the subscription rates, which may put off viewers in developing nations, while local language subtitles are not available in some countries, such as Thailand.
While some teething pains are inevitable, the expansion cements Netflix’s place as the global streaming service. People watched 12 billion hours of Netflix video last year, a 50 percent increase over 2014. The 2016 figures will make for interesting reading.
“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.”
On its plans for the year ahead, Netflix said in a statement: “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.”