Netflix may not get green light for China in 2016

Written by on July 16, 2015 in News with 0 Comments
The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc Chief Executive Reed Hastings said it was possible the movie and TV streaming service’s planned entry into China might be delayed beyond the company’s goal of 2016.

Netflix is aggressively moving into new markets and aims to reach 200 countries by the end of 2016. The company reported Wednesday its global subscriber base had grown to more than 65 million, beating its own forecast and sending shares up more than 9 percent.

On a conference call on Wednesday, Hastings was asked if the company might miss its target for completing a global rollout in all of its new markets by the end of next year.

“So China, again, we still have some things to figure out, so I suppose it’s possible,” he said, but added he was “pretty confident” about the rest of the world.

The biggest hurdle, Hastings said in an interview, is securing the required government clearance and partnerships needed to operate in China, a country with strict regulation of media.

“We’re trying to or exploring a number of different options for offering Netflix in China,” Hastings said. “Until you get the wide range of government permissions that you need, you don’t know until you’ve gotten them.”

“We’ve got the content,” Hastings added. “We will be ready to go then. We are confident consumers will like the service.”

The company plans a “modest” streaming service in China, Hastings has said.

This quarter, Netflix is introducing its service in Japan, which Hastings said was “very brand sensitive” and would be among the slowest markets to penetrate.

“But it may be one of our best markets in the long term because when the Japanese society embraces a brand it is a very deep connection,” Hastings said on the conference call.

“So we’re willing to make that investment knowing that it’s not the quick route to success that might be in other countries,” he said.

Netflix will move into Spain, Italy and Portugal in the fourth quarter. No other new markets are planned for this year, Hastings said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Ken Wills)

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