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Tuesday September 6, 2011 8:36 pm
Netflix now streaming in Latin America, starting with Brazil
Netflix has officially expanded its business into Latin America: Brazil's the first country to receive the company's streaming movies and television shows, and Netflix plans to roll its service out to a total of 43 different countries in Latin American and the Caribbean over the next week.
Just looking at the numbers, Netflix will be able to bolster its current user count of around 23 million people –only consisting of American and Canadian viewers up until today – by the percentage of Latin America's roughly 205 million Internet users that could potentially tune in to their new streaming service. It's a big audience with potentially big rewards for Netflix, which is perhaps why the company spent so much time performing its due diligence to determine just how its Latin American audience views movies and TV shows.
"We've licensed thousands and thousands of hours of feature films, classic favorites, gripping telenovelas, documentaries and kids shows we know you'll enjoy," wrote Rochelle King, Netflix vice president of user experience and design, on the company's blog.
"We've been testing and figuring out the right internet architecture to make sure the quality and speed of the Netflix streaming experience is the best it can be. And we've been training people locally to deliver the excellent customer support Netflix is known for in the U.S. and Canada," she added.
That said, some analysts remain skeptical that Netflix is going to be able to achieve much of a foothold with its Latin American expansion, given the combination of the area's rampant piracy of movies and lower access to high-speed Internet.
"This just won't work in Ecuador or Costa Rica or even Mexico as it has in the U.S.," said Michael Pachter, Webbush Securities analyst, in an interview with the Associated Press. "It's going to depend on how many households have broadband access and what the quality of the content will be like."
So who's the next big target on Netflix's radar? Europe, likely: The company is planning on expanding its service across the pond to both the United Kingdom and Spain by the first quarter of 2012. Like Netflix's Latin America expansion, however, a European launch would be limited to streaming movies only. There aren't any plans to grow a distribution mechanism for Netflix's physical disc rental service, especially considering how much the service eats into the company's profits on the American side.
This article, written by David Murphy, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.
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