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Netflix plans more market localisation

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Netflix is setting its sights on more market localisation following the launch of tailored versions of the service in Poland and Turkey last September.

Speaking on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the rollouts would be part of a “steady process” that should help Netflix establish a substantial presence in these markets in the long-term.

“We’ll continue with more Poland- and Turkey-like launches this year with several countries,” said Hastings, without going into specifics.

“We really liked what we saw once we localised Poland and Turkey in terms of increased viewing, [and] increased membership growth. So we’ll just keep on [with] that pattern.”

Discussing the company’s growth in general terms, Hastings said that Netflix’s international expansion had been “remarkably steady” as internet TV is adopted more broadly around the world.

“If you don’t look at it by the quarter, but you look at by the year, what was seen Latin America’s steady growth, Europe as a whole has been really picking up momentum for us, and Asia, we’re just getting started.”

Asked about the company’s “ultimate vision” Hastings said: “You never want to characterise something as an ‘ultimate vision’ because when you get there, there’s always more that you want to do.

“We’re taking it year-by-year, we’re growing around the world, [and] we’re thrilled with our global expansion. Ex-China we’re really focused on all the different markets – Asia still doing work, in Europe we’re building up our content production muscle. We’re able to produce shows now in many countries around the world.”

Netflix announced in September that it was launching a  “truly Polish service”, using local language, local currency for payments and adding Polish TV shows and movies to complement Netflix’s original programming. At the same time it agreed a carriage agreement with its first local partner in Poland, T-Mobile.

In the same week it announced similar plans for a “truly Turkish service” with the same kind of localisation and a partnership with Vodafone in the country.

Hastings’ comments came as Netflix announced it had added 7.05 million new members in the fourth quarter, far exceeding its forecast of 5.2 million in what was its biggest quarter to date in terms of net additions.