Netflix is the world’s leading subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies on your phone. Netflix has gone live in nearly every country in the world. The firm announced it had switched on its service in 130 additional countries. The company’s shares jumped to about 6% above their opening price following the announcements.
It said it was still trying to expand to China. The other exceptions are North Korea, Syria and Crimea, where it is banned from operating by US law.
Netflix content boss, Ted Sarandos, is on stage! He’s got a big job: 600 hours of original content coming to you in 2016. #NetflixCES
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 6, 2016
Today’s announcement basically triples the company’s distribution. “Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global internet TV network,” said Hastings. “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.”
The announcement was made by the firm’s chief executive Reed Hastings at his keynote speech at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. He also confirmed that Netflix would begin offering HDR (high dynamic range) content later this year.
“We were expecting Netflix to go everywhere, but this has happened more quickly than we thought,” commented Fernando Elizalde from the tech consultancy Gartner.
“Until now the firm had been doing it in phased stages because of the costs of marketing and dubbing or subtitling the content.
“But it’s worth remembering that in some of the emerging economies it will only be people in urban areas that will be able to use it because of limited internet availability.”
For consumers who already have Netflix, the biggest change may be the addition of HDR.
High dynamic range video allows compatible TVs to show millions more colours and a wider dynamic range – added shades of brightness in between black and white – letting more detail be shown.
Many experts believe the impact is greater than that of just jumping from 1080p to 4K ultra-high definition resolution alone. One consequence of using the format, however, is that it requires more data, and few TVs support it yet.
Mr Hastings said users with compatible TVs should get a “visceral sensation that’s pretty amazing”.
The firm’s rival, Amazon, began streaming a limited number of shows in the format in 2015.