Credit Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse â Getty Images
Netflix went live with its streaming television service in nearly every country across the world on Wednesday, rapidly accelerating its plan to be fully global by the end of 2016.
âRight now, you are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,â Reed Hastings, Netflixâs chief executive, said during a keynote address at International CES, the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. A montage of global flags scrolled in the background.
Netflix added more than 130 countries â not including China â to its roster of roughly 60 where the service already was available. The company flipped the global switch on the service during Mr. Hastingsâs nearly hourlong address, which he described as a âtalk about how the Internet is changing television and how we are at the start of a global revolution.â
Netflix also announced that it was including Arabic, Korean and simplified and traditional Chinese to the 17 languages already available.
The service will be available for one monthly price, and global subscribers will be able to watch Netflix original series as well as a library of licensed television shows and movies that the company has the rights to stream. Netflix said that in 2016 it planned to release 31 new and returning original series, 24 films and documentaries, 30 original children series and stand up comedy specials. They will become available to all subscribers at the same time around the world.
Netflix said it was exploring its options in China, but that the service was not available there. It said that the service would not be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria because of United States government restrictions on American companies.
Mr. Hastings said during the address that when he traveled to countries that previously did not have Netflix, he was constantly asked when it would become available â a sign, he said, that the global reach of the Internet meant that people had heard about its shows.
âWith this launch, consumers around the world â from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to SÃ£o Paulo â will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously â no more waiting,â Mr. Hastings said in a separate statement. âWith the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumersâ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.â
2016 International CES
The announcement is a big development in a big year for the streaming service. In addition to its global rollout, Netflix has said that it plans to spend more than $ 6 billion in cash on programming in 2016. And after running roughly break-even profitability through this year, Netflix has promised to start delivering material global profits in 2017.
Wall Street is watching Netflixâs moves carefully. The companyâs share price surged 135 percent during 2015, making it the top performing stock on the Standard & Poorâs 500-stock index. On Wednesday, Netflix shares rose about 6 percent in midday trading and its market capitalization was about $ 47 billion â about two times that of the television group CBS.
While Netflix shares were on a tear in 2015, some on Wall Street question whether the company can maintain the momentum. On Monday, Netflix shares dropped after an analyst downgraded the companyâs stock, citing concerns over weaker-than-expected subscriber growth in the United States.