Netflix has announced it “will expand into South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan in early 2016 as it moves to complete its global rollout by the end of next year.”
The last part of the sentence is perhaps the most significant as the company has previously merely hinted at its rollout plans, telling investors in a letter (PDF) in January 2015 that “we now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years”, and that “Acceleration to 200 countries” is on the agenda. At the time of writing, Netflix says it's accessible in 77 nations or territories.
Completing a 200-nation rollout by the end of 2016 will require 123 nations to come aboard by year's end, at a rate of nearly two a week.
If it succeeds, Netflix will do three interesting things. The most obvious is that wherever the company lands, incumbent carriers are in for a busy time as the streaming video concern's arrival usually brings with it a spike in traffic. Long-haul, backhaul and last mile carriers all cop a surge in demand for bit-barrowing services offering with the high quality of service required to ensure streaming video behaves well.
For example, today the head of Australia's National Broadband Newtork (NBN) Bill Morrow told a media conference that the arrival of Netflix in that country caused a 60 per cent traffic surge on the NBN's links alone.
A second is that the company says it plans to “source great stories from around the world and deliver them to the world,” which will make it an interesting cultural force. Netflix also believes it can become “a unique global licensor that provides worldwide distribution,” which sounds like a challenge to Big Content. ®