Online movie and television series streaming service Netflix has officially gone live in 130 countries including South Africa on Wednesday night.
Co-founder and chief executive officer of Netflix, Reed Hastings, made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
“Today, I am delighted to announce that while we have been here on stage at CES, we switched Netflix in Azerbaijan, in Vietnam, in India, in Nigeria, in Poland, in Russia, in Saudi Arabia, in Singapore, in South Korea, in Turkey, in Indonesia, and in 130 new countries,” said Hastings.
With the current exchange rate, Netflix is slightly more expensive than the R99 customers currently pay for Naspers’ ShowMax offering. Launched in 2015, it has probably been the most successful VoD service in the country to date.
The basic Netflix subscription also doesn’t allow for HD viewing or the ability to watch on more than one screen at any one time.
That said, Netflix has a considerably larger library, with more than 7 000 titles than the Naspers-owned offering or any of the other streaming services currently available in South Africa.
Amid the announcement, the South African Netflix website was switched on at www.netflix.com/za on Wednesday and advertised a price of $7.99 (R126) per month with a free month’s trial.
Other additional countries to get the service included Russia, India, and South Korea, according to the announcement from Netflix.
Netflix, which started in the US, last year expressed a goal to expand to an extra 150 countries across the globe.
Netflix’ expansion into South Africa was initially announced in January 2015 but with no confirmed date.
The actual entry appears to have happened fairly stealthily with no obvious fanfare. Another point of interest is that Netflix has decided to continue pricing in dollars rather than in the local Rand. It’s a policy which makes sense for a number of financial reasons, although it’ll have local subscribers hoping just that little bit more fervently for improvements from the Rand in 2016.
That is however in line with what it does in other markets around the world, so shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Anyone signing up to Netflix is entitled to a month’s free trial.