In terms of reaching consumers and satisfying their demands, Netflix is a force to be reckoned with. Founded in California in 1997, the company has evolved into an on-demand streaming service for some of the world’s most popular TV shows and movies. As one of the top buyers of films from Sundance, Netflix has also gained a reputation for being one of the best ways to find low-cost forms of high-quality entertainment. Now they’re striving for greater success, attracting new global subscribers and expanding into international territories at breakneck speed.
The Globalization of America’s Top Streaming Service
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Netflix made headlines by announcing an incredible business feat. After mere months of hinting at a broader expansion, Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings announced that the company would accelerate its global reach to operate in 200 countries by the end of 2016.
Of course, “availability” doesn’t translate automatically into widespread use – in addition to technological development issues, government regulations still block the spread of streaming entertainment throughout much of the world.
To date, both China and Indonesia have blocked the expansion of Netflix. This is not the first time that “The Great Firewall” has posed a challenge for Western tech titans; Mark Zuckerberg recently faced trouble with the Chinese government when he stated his ambitious goal to bring Facebook to the country.
Additionally, even though Netflix is available to people in many different areas of the globe, the overall experience varies depending on nation and region. For example, nations with conservative religious cultures are expected to censor Netflix programs with racier content like Marco Polo. Some content will also be excluded in some areas of the world due to licensing matters.
Competition at Home: Challenges from AT&T and Other Streaming Services
Netflix’s decision to expand internationally may be partially due to the fact that their rate of domestic growth has slowed dramatically over the last two years. Today the company faces stiff competition at home from other streaming companies, as each vie for the loyalty of fickle American viewers. Several of the most formidable opponents faced by Netflix include Hulu, MUBI, Amazon Prime, and HBO. All of these companies have exclusive offerings that make their services appealing to a growing range of consumers.
In an effort to profit from exclusive TV shows, AT&T has also entered this market with its tie-up with DirecTV in addition to their various other projects, such as Otter Media. Otter Media is a subscription streaming service that is expected to offer several shows and movies from companies like Crunchyroll. AT&T’s Otter Media is still an ongoing project, so it is currently unclear how this will affect Netflix. Because HBO and similar companies stream licensed content that Netflix cannot access, it is unlikely that Netflix will be able to completely force them out of the American market.
Satisfying Consumers by Adapting to World Cultures
Just as the international restaurant McDonald’s satisfies consumers in India and Japan by changing its menu, Netflix plans to impress its global audience by customizing its catalog to regional and national preferences. For example, Netflix plans to include several Korean dramas for consumers in South Korea. Netflix also plans to deliver some of its most popular original series to people everywhere. Netflix gave a Chinese company the rights to broadcast Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards in China, and the show was a major success. Netflix expects similar success with its other popular hits.
While Netflix does face some serious competition from companies that stream licensed content in the United States, it is currently the most powerful streaming company in the global market. If all goes according to plan for this company, it could be well on its way to establishing the first-ever worldwide television empire.