Netflix went live with its streaming service in nearly every country in the world on Wednesday, tripling its expansion almost instantly.
At a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings announced the American streaming service had switched on in 130 new countries, including Azerbaijan, India, Nigeria, Vietnam, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“Right now, you are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,” Hastings said in his announcement.
“Whether you are in Sydney or St. Petersburg, Singapore or Seoul, Santiago or Saskatoon, you now can be part of the Internet TV revolution,” Hastings added.
The New York Times called the move “an unexpected acceleration of the company’s aggressive quest for global ubiquity by the end of 2016”.
When you look at a world map of “Netflixed” countries, the elephant in room (or the globe) is China – an immense grey void that is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s broadband households.
Before Wednesday’s announcement, Netflix was available in 60 countries and 17 languages. It is now available in 190.
In addition to its rapid expansion, Hastings said that territorial licensing restrictions, which limit content – a key complaint made by Australian users – will be eliminated in the next decade.
"As we build our library and renew existing deals we're getting to the state where over the next five or 10 years everything will be consistent around Netflix and everything will be available globally," he said in a Q&A session following the keynote address.
"We're moving as quickly as we can ... [but] we're still somewhat a prisoner of the current distribution architecture.”
"We want the citizens of the world to have the same content."