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Netflix accelerates global ambitions

News, 22 January 2015

NEW YORK: Netflix, the US-based OTT video streaming service, has announced its intention to expand into 200 markets around the world, up from the current 50, by the end of 2016.

The company reported it had added a net 2.4m international subscribers in the fourth quarter, following its launch in several European markets, and 1.9m in the US. It now has a total of 57.4m subscribers globally.

"Acceleration to 200 countries is largely made possible by the tremendous growth of the internet in general, including on phones, tablets and smart TVs," said chief executive Reed Hastings.

"Once we complete the expansion, we're going to have a very unique and compelling proposition to producers, which is we can get your content seen and loved around the world," he told the New York Times. "In Kenya, in Argentina, in Vietnam, in the Philippines, just everywhere in the world that we can."

That claim might not apply to Australia, however, where the planned March launch has been surrounded by suggestions that the company has been blocking viewers who use virtual private networks to access overseas versions of Netflix and that prime series such as House of Cards will not be available to local subscribers.

Nonetheless, such content is an integral part of the expansion strategy. "We see original programming travel and carry the Netflix brand around the world," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer.

To that end, the company said it would triple the amount of original content produced in 2015 to around 320 hours.

Netflix also said it was "exploring options" in China, where it needs to secure a license to operate, but described its plans for that country as "modest."

Data sourced from New York Times, Financial Times, Business Insider, 9News; additional content by Warc staff