Netflix, the indomitable streaming TV and movie giant, is expanding to the Land of the Rising Sun next month. Netflix today launched a Japanese Twitter account and landing page, and a spokesperson for the company confirmed to VentureBeat that streaming will go live in the region on September 2.
Netflix, you might say, has been on a bit of an international binge. It switched on service in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany last year, rolled out its catalog to Australia and New Zealand in November, and in the coming months will lay the groundwork for launches in China, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
The pushes are all a part of the company’s long-term ambition to reach “200 countries by 2017,” a growth strategy that’s paid dividends. Nearly 70 percent of the 3.3 million subscribers Netflix netted last quarter were from outside North America, and they’re a profitable bunch — the company reported that international revenue grew by 48 percent year-over-year.
Analysts predict that Netflix’s growth overseas will accelerate through the remainder of this year, potentially as high as 57 percent to end 2015 with 27 million international subscribers. But the service faces stiff competition from myriad services, Hollywood-backed Hooq and Indian entertainment company ErosNow among them. Longtime rival Amazon took the most aggressive step last month, spending a reported $5 billion, in part to preempt Netflix with its Prime Instant Video platform in India.
Netflix maintains its ace in the hole is its original series, and to that end pledges to spend (a coincidental) $5 billion in 2016 on feature films, documentaries, shows, and stand-up comedy specials. Foreign-language programming will make up a larger percentage of programming, Netflix said during its second quarter earnings report — the Spanish-language drama Club de Cuervos debuts on August 7, and the French miniseries Marseille will enter production in the coming months.
Netflix’s continued expansion all but ensures impressive future growth. It’s surpassed 65 million users accross 50 countries, a more than doubling of its customer base in the last three years.
Netflix’s backers seem confident. Its stock surged 8 percent today to an all-time high of $121.
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