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Netflix Bows Latin America Streaming Service

6 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Labor Day launch marks Netflix’s second international expansion following Canadian operations last summer

Netflix has formally bowed subscription streaming service in Brazil, the first of 43 planned Latin America countries, the Caribbean and Mexico.

"People throughout the region are online in ever-greater numbers and they love movies and TV shows," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a statement.

Rochelle King, VP of user experience and design with Netflix, in a post on the company’s blog, said that by Sept. 12 people throughout the Americas would be able to stream a broad selection of movies and TV shows on computers, game consoles and connected televisions.

Broadband-enabled users in Brazil can pay R$14.99 for a subscription. New users can get a free month of the Portuguese-language service by registering at Netflix.com.

Movies include Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of Black Pearl, Enchanted, Deja Vu, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Swingers, Pulp Fiction, Aladdin, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2, Toy Story (all Disney); Paramount's Vanilla Sky, Double Jeopardy, Hunt for Red October, War of the Worlds, Italian Job, Chinatown, Godfather, Orange County; Old School (DreamWorks); Babe, Milk (both Universal); Madagascar , Shrek 2 (DreamWorks Animation); Fox's Minority Report and the original Twilight from Summit Home Entertainment.

In addtion to abundant telenovelas, TV programming includes "Grey’s Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," "Castle," "Starter Wife," High School Musical, High School Musical 2, Hannah Montana Forever; "90210", original "90210," "Medium," "Criminal Minds," "United States of Tara," Mad Men," and "Torchwood."

On the Sept. 7, the Spanish-language version of the Netflix streaming service goes live in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The monthly fee is 39 pesos while in Uruguay and Paraguay the price is US$7.99 per month.

On Sept. 8, Netflix launches Chile at 3790 pesos per month and in Bolivia at US$7.99 per month. On Sept. 9, Netflix also goes live in the Andean region. In Colombia, the monthly subscription price will be 14,000 Colombian pesos while in Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador the price will be US$7.99.

On Sept. 12, Netflix launches service in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In Mexico, the monthly subscription price for unlimited streaming will be 99 pesos while in the Central America and the Caribbean the price will be US$7.99 per month. In the Caribbean region, Netflix will be available in English and Spanish.

King said the launch culminates months of research within Latin America determining what consumers watch, how they watch TV and attitudes toward movies, TV shows and daytime TV.

In addition, tests were conducted to determine the correct Internet architecture to ensure the quality and speed of the Netflix streaming in the region. Netflix also spent considerable resources training people locally to deliver its noted customer support and online user interface.

“We’ve definitely learned a lot in these past few months, and we’ll continue to learn and improve as we grow and expand our service in Latin America,” King wrote.

Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York, observed that Netflix Brazil is heavily loaded with movies from Disney and Paramount. Others content licensors include Sony Pictures Television, NBCUniversal International Television, TV Bandeirantes, ABC Television, CBS Television, Dorimedia, MGM, Lionsgate, Summit, Miramax, Relativity, BBC Worldwide, Televisa, Telemundo, TV Azteca, Caracol, and Telefe.

"Disney and Paramount are clearly not expecting consumers to buy catalog movie DVDs anymore," Greenfield wrote in a Sept. 6 blog post. "It will be interesting to see whether Netflix’s content licensing in Brazil sparks other multichannel distributors in Latin American to license incremental content for their own IP-based services."

Netflix is expected to launch streaming operations in Europe by next year, beginning in Spain.

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