In a widely anticipated move, streaming-video giant Netflix has launched its service worldwide, hoping to soon send movie buffs in 190 countries into Nirvana.
In an announcement on its website, Netflix said it was “simultaneously bringing its Internet TV network to more than 130 new countries around the world,” expanding its footprint dramatically, including to India for the first time. The new service went live during a keynote by co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings at CES 2016:
“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network. With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”
Valued at nearly $50 billion and boasting a stock price that’s gone atmospheric of late, climbing nearly 130 percent in 2015 alone, Netflix has never been shy about its global ambitions. The New York Times reported a year ago that Hastings wanted to launch the subscription-based, advertising-free model for its streaming service in “200 countries by the end of 2016.”
The company came pretty darn close.
The only major market where it’s missing is China.
As the Times piece put it back in January 2015, “Netflix is hoping that it will define Internet TV in Swahili, Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino and dozens more languages within just two years.” The story said that while Netflix’s international streaming business still loses money, the company predicted it would generate global profit by 2017.
In its press release, Netflix said members around the world will now be able to “enjoy Netflix original series including Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Narcos, Sense8, Grace and Frankie, and Marco Polo, as well as a catalog of licensed TV shows and movies.”
And there’s more, the Los Gatos-based behemoth says it 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.
The service will also be available in more languages, including the latest addition of Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, joining the 17 languages it already supports.
“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.”
Those stories will soon be consumed over the self-described “world’s leading Internet television network” by more than 70 million members, who Netflix says will be “enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day.”
And that’s a lot of collective couch time.
Photo: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. (Courtesy of Netflix)