The company’s suite of shows including House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, and Marco Polo are available in Cuba beginning today to people who have “Internet connections and access to international payment methods,” Netflix says. The release doesn’t say how many subscribers it expects to add with the $7.99 a month offering of a “curated selection of popular movies and TV shows.” But the company says that it should grow “as Internet access improves and credit and debit cards become more widely available.”
“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,” says CEO Reed Hastings. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”
Netflix has more than 5 million customers in Latin America since it began offering the service there in 2011.
And international expansion is a top priority for the company. Now in more than 50 countries, Hastings and CFO David Wells recently told investors that they believe the company 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.”
Netflix just borrowed $1.5 billion to increase its investments in original programming and help with the expansion plans.
But Cuba is an anomaly. Since expanding to Canada in 2011 “Netflix has targeted countries that have similar language, wealth levels and content preferences as the U.S. in addition to territories which represented the largest chunks of the world’s Internet connected total addressable market,” MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson said this morning. Execs have said that they’re exploring a limited offering for China.
President Obama began in December to normalize relations with Cuba, boosting travel and commerce, ending a 50-year freeze.