The chances of Netflix being launched in South Africa soon have just got a lot better.
The company’s CEO, Reed Hastings, says in a letter to shareholders, issued on Tuesday, that the online video pioneer intends aggressively stepping up its international expansion strategy, growing the number of countries in which it operates from 50 to 200 by the end of next year.
Although a number of South African consumers subscribe to Netflix, they have to use technical trickery or subscribe to virtual private networking services to gain access as it is not officially available here.
“Our international expansion strategy over the last few years has been to expand as fast as we can while staying profitable on a global basis,” Hastings says in the letter to investors.
“Progress has been so strong that we now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years, while staying profitable, which is earlier than we expected. We then intend to generate material global profits from 2017 onwards.”
Hastings says Netlix has learnt a great deal about the content people prefer in different markets.
“Acceleration to 200 countries is largely made possible by the tremendous growth of the Internet in general, including on phones, tablets and smart TVs. We intend to stick to our core ad-free subscription model. As with our initial round of international expansion, we’ll get some things wrong and do our best to fix them quickly.”
He says the company has a “good idea” of the best approach for Netflix to take in most countries.
“It is advantageous for Netflix to become global in many ways. The big one is absolute size (faster to US$10bn in revenue) because that revenue allows us to develop and license more content for our members and improve our service,” he says in the letter.
“A second is being able to source great stories from around the world and deliver them to the world. A third is the efficiency and influence of being a unique global licensor that provides worldwide distribution.
“With the growth of the Internet over the next 20 years, there will be some amazing entertainment services available globally. We intend to be one of the leaders.”
In the same letter, Hastings vowed to grow Netflix’s spending on original content. It has already created a number of hit shows, including House of Cards and Marco Polo. The company is also set to release its first original feature film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny, on 26 August in all of the markets in which it operates.
A company spokesman could not immediately be reached to comment on the international expansion plans. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media