Netflix to plot more Euro launches next year

Netflix will decide next year which European markets to expand into next, with a three-to-five year goal to expand globally, according to Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings.

Netflix Building41-620x413Speaking on a keynote panel at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit in Copenhagen this morning attended by TBI’s sister title Digital TV Europe, Hastings, who was in Europe to promote Netflix’s latest batch of six European country launches, compared Netflix’s growth trajectory to many traditional cable networks in its shift from licensed to original programming.

He added that moving to more territories will help it to monetise and do “more original content”.

“Our pattern is for the next few months, now that we’ve just launched, we’ll spend a lot of time in France and Germany trying to learn, improve and adjust. Then we’ll decide next year to either expand more in southern Europe, [or] central and eastern Europe, so we’re not yet sure,” said Hastings.

“Over the next three or four years, think of us as at least trying to expand around the world.”

He said that, broadly, Netflix’s strategy was to try and break even in a new country in three-to-five years, and to establish itself in a third of households within seven.

“We continue to invest very heavily and are betting on future growth throughout the world in terms of membership. So we’re relatively high-leveraged, not financially, but in terms of content cost and content commitments,” he said.

Revealing some broad viewing trends, Hastings said that around two thirds of Netflix viewing is now TV series compared to and a third movies, while two thirds of viewing is done on a wide-screen television with the rest on mobiles, laptops and tablets.

He said that TV series and movies would remain Netflix’s focus, and that the firm was not interested in diversifying by moving into areas like sports, music videos, user-generated content or instructional videos.

He did however predict a wholesale industry shift in the coming years to on-demand viewing – even in live news and sports, through the use of multiple camera angles or content streams.

“Linear video that we’ve all grown up with is like the fixed-line telephone… It’s going to become an on-demand world.

It will become on-demand both through straight over-the-top and through Verizon-like cloud-based interfaces where consumers can choose what and how they watch,” said Hastings.

Netflix has gone live in Belgium and Luxembourg today, completing a week-long round of European launches that have seen it hit six new territories.

Netflix said that having rolled out France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland already this week, it can be accessed by an additional 63 million broadband homes.

Netflix said its pricing will start at €7.99 (US$10.29) per month in Belgium and Luxembourg. The service will offer subs original Netflix series Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove as well as kids series Turbo Fast. Acquired series include Fargo, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Penny Dreadful.

It will be available LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba connected TVs in Belgium and Luxembourg. Netflix is now available in Scandinavia, the Benelux and France, Germany and the UK in Europe. Internationally, it is also available in Latin America.