Netflix just launched in 130 new countries including Vietnam, India, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, and Indonesia, CEO Reed Hastings told the CES consumer electronics confab in a keynote address.
“You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,” he said.
The news, at the end of the company’s presentation, sent Netflix shares up nearly 6%.
The company says that it “continues to explore options” to serve China. It isn’t available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria “due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies.”
Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos mostly used today’s forum to promote Netflix’s original content plans.
The company plans to offer more than 600 hours in 2016 — and hopes to grow from there. “The technology is there,” Sarandos says. “It’s the business models that stand in the way.”
Showing clips from upcoming series The Crown and The Get Down, he says that Netflix has a luxury that conventional programmers lack to offer diverse programming. The company brought out celebrities Chelsea Handler, Will Arnett, Krysten Ritter, and Wagner Moura to praise Netflix.
With the data to target shows and promotions to specific viewers “we can spend less on marketing” and “score [not only] with home runs but also singles and doubles and triples.”
Netflix appeals to content creators by offering them flexibility to develop an entire series, not just a pilot, and episodes “that are not 22 or 44 minutes long.”
Sarandos defended Netflix’s movies that premiere online the same time it hopes to release them in theaters — a proposition most exhibitors reject.
“We are not anti-theater,” he says. “We are just pro-movies.” The Netflix model “removes one of the key reasons people resort to piracy.”
Hastings opened his company’s part of the proceedings saying that Internet video enables Netflix and others to “finally give people what they always wanted. We can put consumers across the world in the driver’s seat.”
For example, viewers “don’t have to be at the mercy of commercials,” he says. The company has moved television “from corporate to consumer control.”
Later this year, the company will introduce high dynamic range to its 4K videos. The CEO added that Netflix serves more than 70 million global subscribers. In Q4 they watched 12 billion hours of content, up from 8.25 billion in the same period in 2014.