Online video streaming services like Netflix will not provide HD content for mobile data users under India's Covid-19 lockdown (representational image) | Photo: Bloomberg
Online video streaming services like Netflix will not provide HD content for mobile data users under India's Covid-19 lockdown (representational image) | Photo: Bloomberg
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Los Angeles: Facing new competition from some of the world’s largest media companies, Netflix Inc. is showcasing its biggest advantage: a head start abroad.

Netflix has more than 90 million customers outside the U.S. and Canada, including 47.4 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 29.4 million in Latin America, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. The company issued the information to prepare investors and analysts for its next earnings report, when it will break out financial data across four regions for the first time.

The overseas presence puts Netflix well ahead of streaming rivals such as Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, which debuted last month, and AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max, slated to be released in May. It also helps make up for Netflix’s slowdown in its home country.

Netflix has more than 60 million customers in the U.S., accounting for more than half of broadband homes. But it’s on pace for its fewest customer additions since the company split its streaming service from its DVD business in 2011.

Also read: Netflix experiment lets you watch movies at 1.5 times the speed

Netflix calls itself a global service and has banked its future on building a TV network that is as appealing in Brazil, France and Japan as at home. Netflix co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has frequently cited Facebook and YouTube as two tech giants he looks to emulate. They each have more than 2 billion users, though those services are generally free.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, will release more than 130 seasons of programs from other countries next year, outpacing most U.S. media companies’ domestic output.

“A lot of these titles that are hugely impactful in the country where they’re produced also tend to travel throughout the region, sometimes around the world,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told investors in October.

Netflix has added about 28 million customers in Europe over the past three years, and it’s on pace for its most gross additions yet — all while raising prices. The average customer in the EMEA region pays $10.26, the highest rate outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Netflix has touted its growth in Latin America over the years, and the Monday filing reveals the company has more than 29 million customers in the region. That’s about one-third of broadband homes.

The Asia-Pacific region is the biggest question mark, especially as Netflix goes after consumers who are sensitive to price. Netflix is experimenting with lower-cost plans in India and Indonesia, countries that are home to more than 1.5 billion people.

Netflix investors will get a better sense of its progress on Jan. 21, when the company is slated to release fourth-quarter earnings.

Also read: Netflix is splurging Rs 30 billion on local content for Indian audience


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