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After a global expansion, Netflix’s next aim is to have the same shows everywhere

Its CEO says that “over the next five to ten years”, they will see content on Netflix consistent across all countries.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announcing the service's expansion to another 130 countries at CES.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announcing the service's expansion to another 130 countries at CES.
Image: Netflix

NETFLIX MADE A major announcement at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas where it launched in more than 130 different countries.

Now that it’s available around the world – with the exception of China and three other countries – the next step for it is ensuring the catalogue of shows and movies are consistent across the board.

When asked about the possibility of Netflix’s shows and movies being available across all territories, its CEO Reed Hastings said it hopes to see content on Netflix consistent across the world “over the next five to ten years”.

“We want citizens of the world to have the same content. And so we’re aligned, but really we’re in many ways a step ahead because we can operate faster as a private company than a government to be able to licence our new shows,” he said. “That’s going to be available in every country of the world. And all of our new originals are like that”.

So as we build the library, as we do more licensing and renew existing deals, we’re getting to the state over the next five or ten years where everything will be consistent around Netflix and everything will be available globally.

Its head of content Ted Sarandos added that the current shows Netflix produces, which include shows like House of Cards, Narcos, Making a Murderer and Jessica Jones, are a “patchwork” for solving this but said “all that kind of regional availability will just kind of narrow out of existence over time”.

Source: Netflix US & Canada/YouTube

Certain shows like Better Call Saul are available in the Irish and UK version of Netflix, but not in the US, an issue caused by regional licensing and something Netflix hopes will become less of an issue over time.

“Unfortunately, we’ve still got territorial licensing that’s a legacy of the last seven or eight years, but we’re moving as quickly as we can to have global availability of all the content of Netflix so that there are no regional distinctions,” said Sarandos.

But we’re still somewhat a prisoner of the current distribution architecture and we’re trying really hard to get there. We know people want to be able to access any content anywhere.

Taking on the world

Hastings used the keynote at CES to launch the service in more than 130 countries – the major exception being China which he said they would “hope to also be in the future”.

The service has more than 69 million members before it announced its expansion, and streams over 125 million hours of content to viewers a day, according to Hastings.

When asked about launching in China, he said it was working with the government to launch it there.

Source: Netflix US & Canada/YouTube

It takes time”, he said. “In China, you need specific permission from the government to be able to operate so we’re continuing to work on that and we’re very patient. The content is great. I think we’re going to be a success there, but it’s going to take some time”.

The other countries that it can’t operate in under US law are North Korea, Syria and Crimea, but Hastings said there wasn’t “a ton of internet usage in those three so that’s not a big sacrifice”.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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