Streaming media giant Netflix has formally launched its presence in virtually every country in the world, making significant progress to fulfill its plan to go fully global by end of 2016.
“Right now, you are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive, speaking at a keynote address at International CES as a montage of global flags scrolled in the background.
Netflix is now available in 130 more countries, including Hong Kong — in addition to the roughly 60 where the service is already available. Following its US launch, Netflix first expanded to Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
In addition to the 17 languages already available, Netflix is also now available in Arabic, Korean and traditional and simplified Chinese although the service is still unavailable in China.
“With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to São Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting,” Mr. Hastings said in a separate statement. “With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”
In Hong Kong, where traditional cable TV service have been dominated by nowTV and Hong Kong Cable, consumers now have more options. Starting at HK$63 a month, Netflix subscription is cheaper than a movie ticket — plus first month free access. And unlike cable TV subscription which ties customers with 24-month commitment, Netflix subscription can be cancelled anytime.
Netflix’s entry in Hong Kong market is largely seen as a threat to incumbent players, but the relationships can also bring benefits. For example, Netflix has licensed some shows to nowTV and is in discussion to collaborate with Hong Kong Telecom and Hong Kong Broadband Network, according to EJ Insight.