Author, Mark Campbell, may have posted his article hastily, without thoroughly checking for facts and spelling. But his article, “Netflix Wants to make Neflix [sic] Global”, was a success—at least on Reddit where it already has around 5,000 upvotes and over 1,000 comments. The comments range from attacks on the article’s semantic problem of using “Netflix wants” instead of “Netflix plans” to explaining how to use a virtual private network (VPN) to someone claiming he’s been waiting for this since the 1920s (huh?). In summary, the Reddit community has spoken: they want Netflix Global.
According to this New York Times article and this letter from Netflix to its shareholders—both dated January 20, 2015—Netflix is planning a global expansion. That being said, despite the NYT article and the letter to the shareholders stating Netflix plans to expand its service from 50 countries to 200 countries (though only 195 countries are officially recognized as Independent States in the World), it doesn’t look like this expansion will happen overnight. Travelers, expatriates, and military personnel in the Middle East, among others, will still have to use a VPN.
Some consumers and European politicians argue that Netflix’s geo-blocking violates the objectives for a Digital Single Market that states “it no longer makes sense for each EU country to have its own rules for telecommunications services, copyright, data protections, or the management of radio spectrum.” Moreover, it doesn’t make sense for an American company to restrict its services in this way because 1) it is a fiscally irresponsible decision that results in increased use of VPN’s and piracy, and 2) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed to a new set of Net Neutrality rules due to a petition signed by over 4 million people and an appeal from President Obama stating that “no gatekeepers [should decide] which sites [consumers] get to access.”
Thus, as internet TV continues to engulf linear TV, seeking a globalized world continues to be the norm, and nations continue to demand a “free and open” internet, Netflix has no choice but to complete its global expansion as soon as possible—even if that means the company must temporarily absorb international losses due to “global technology and general and administrative costs increased year on year in support of continued international and content expansion.” These losses, of around $79 million on international streaming for Q4 ‘14, was not as much as Netflix expected to lose, so shareholders can rest easy knowing that international losses will gradually decrease with descending operating costs—and shareholders can rejoice knowing they are investing in “original” and “exclusive” content including Marco Polo, House of Cards, Games of Thrones—and Netflix’s first original feature, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny. I personally look forward to watching Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, and some French movies as I travel around the world.