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CES 2016: Netflix boss heralds 'birth of a new global internet TV network'

Friday, January 8th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries following its global expansion earlier this week.

Co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings made the announcement during a keynote at CES 2016 in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

After launching in the US in 2007, the streaming service expanded first to Canada, then to Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to include 60 countries by the end of 2015.

As well as the global expansion, Netflix has this week added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

Netflix is not yet available in China, although the company said it is continuing to explore options for providing the service.

US government restrictions on American companies mean it is also unavailable in Crimea, North Korea and Syria.

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global internet TV network,” Mr Hastings told CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show.

“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.”

Mr Hastings said Netflix will “listen and learn”, gradually adding more languages, content and ways for users to engage with the company.

“We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”

'Huge growth'

Research published in October predicted that Netflix would have 100m global subscribers by 2018.

Analysis firm IHS Technology said the UK would be the number one market in Europe with 7.1m subscribers by 2018.

Dan Cryan, senior director of media and content at IHS Technology, said: “Between now and 2019, we forecast subscriptions will grow by 22%, with 10m new subscribers to be added in the US.”

Ted Hall, research director at IHS, said: “Excluding spend on sports, in 2013 and 2014, Netflix outspent almost everyone on original and acquired content.

“In 2014, Netflix’s content spend was about double that of ITV and Amazon.

“International subscribers are key for Netflix. As Netflix invests more in international content, we expect to see huge growth in Western Europe over the next three years, with 10m new subscribers to be added to its already burgeoning international base.”

In 2016, Netflix 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 children’s series.

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