Netflix launched its service globally on Wednesday, simultaneously bringing its Internet TV network to more than 130 new countries around the world. The company made the announcement — and the service went live — during a keynote speech by Co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
“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.”
For one monthly fee, members around the world will be able to enjoy Netflix original series including Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Narcos, Sense8, Grace and Frankie, and Marco Polo, as well as a catalog of licensed TV shows and movies. In 2016, the company 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 kids series — available at the same time to members everywhere.
While largely available in English in most new countries, Netflix today added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports. Its Israeli service, however, will not offer Hebrew, which would make it harder to compete with the local providers, “Yes” and “Hot,” that offer hefty Hebrew language pay per view and subscription packages.
But as Hastings put it, “From today onwards, we will listen and we will learn, gradually adding more languages, more content and more ways for people to engage with Netflix. We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”
Netflix will not yet be available in China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria, due to US government restrictions on American companies.
Since Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007, it has expanded globally, first to Canada, then to Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, to include 60 countries. It is available on virtually any device that has an Internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and game consoles, and automatically provides the best possible streaming quality based on available bandwidth. Many titles, including Netflix original series and films, are available in high-definition with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound and some in Ultra HD 4K.
There are just fewer and fewer reasons to leave the house these days.