Netflix Inc. , a video-streaming service went in South Africa on Wednesday night, in a huge global push by Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings to counter slowing growth in the United States.
Shares of the company, whose popular shows include “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, “Daredevil” and “Narcos”, jumped 9.3 percent to close at $117.68. India, Nigeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the major countries where the service was launched, Hastings said at a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“(This is) much sooner and much more ambitious than expected,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.
Netflix, which had expanded into more than 60 countries before Wednesday’s launch, previously said it aimed to reach 200 countries by the end of 2016.
However, all shows will not be available immediately to some Netflix fans.
“We’re moving as quickly as we can to have global availability of all the content on Netflix,” Hastings said at a press conference after his speech.The company is still exploring options for providing its service in China, the world’s most populous country. Asked if Netflix will make it into the Chinese market in 2016, Hastings said in an interview “we hope so, but you never know.”
“With China, you really want to build relationships first, before you get to the practical parts of building a business,” he said. “And so we are doing that now and getting to know people, both in government and in partner companies.”
“We’ll just keep working on the relationships,” he said. “We are very patient. Whether it is 2016, 2017, we’ll just keep working on it.”
South Africa on the other hand like most African countries does not have the full technological infrastructure to make this country a total success. Surfing the internet at a high bandwidth is still a luxury for most households. Wait, Pretoria has a WiFi hotspot almost everywhere but the problem is the bandwidth and data limit. So apart from users who have already subscribed to international streaming services on a data package contract which does not come easily.
It then makes Netflix a luxury for others or expensive for those who want to experience the service but realize the expense side is a bit too complicated. Netflix also does not stream local television, which is on the number one roll of South African entertainment. Dstv has capitalized on the local entertainment power of every country it is present in and bought into several production companies to establish its presence and familiarize itself with local entertainment one that Netflix does not have.
Netflix has around 10,000 titles, taking in everything from rom-coms to action movies, TV shows and documentaries; and that can be a problem. It’s called the paradox of choice; faced with an endless array of options, people freeze up. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour scrolling through the possible choices, and you’ve run out of time to watch a movie.
Netflix has a strong advantage over DSTV, one they can capitalize on. Netflix streams more recent series, out of the box American entertainment which is a bit slow to get on Dstv. Dstv Box office also is late with movies, so Netflix can build on this as there are already a list of fans of international series like Arrows, Into the Badlands, Expatriats, OriginalS , Limitless and more.
Netflix, South African website was switched on Wednesday and advertised prices starting at roughly R127 per month with a free month’s trial.