With plans to spend at leastnext year, Netflix needs more subscribers to expand its war chest. The streaming service appears to have found the next place to do it.
Having mostly conquered the West, Netflix is pivoting East and plans on tapping cable providers in Asia to host the Netflix app on their set-top boxes. Netflix seeks to rack up its next 100 million subscribers from the region.
This may sound like a conflict of interest for cable, but Netflix director of partner engagement Nigel Baptiste said there are mutual benefits to working together. A partnership gives cable providers another channel of content, he said, and cable offers the “next logical step for us.”
Netflix isn’t starting from scratch in Asia. The service entered the region two years ago in Japan and now has a presence in most Asian countries, with the notable exceptions of China and North Korea.
To try to convince cable providers to work with Netflix, Baptiste will relocate from the US to the regional headquarters in Singapore next month to build a team to work toward this goal.
While Asia is considered mostly a mobile market, Netflix’s own research indicates that 60 percent of accounts in Asia use the TV as a primary viewing device, with these users spending twice as long watching on the big screen than on their phones.
Baptiste noted that Netflix isn’t going to rush things in Asia and that the company will take the time to learn and evolve in the market.
Asia, obviously, isn’t just one country. It’s a market filled with very different income levels, needs and sensitivities in each country. Netflix expects that it will need a tailored approach to succeed in the region.
The company will also need to contend with an already-crowded streaming niche filled with the likes of iFlix, Viu and Hooq. But Baptiste said he isn’t especially worried.
“Internet TV as an industry needs to have multiple players. We think we bring something unique to the market with a wide range of content that appeals to everyone. We bring it at a price point that makes sense,” Baptiste said.
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