In the past few years, Netflix hasn't been shy about its plans for world domination. Well, world domination with respect to the entertainment industry, anyway. From disrupting a decades-long established model in television to securing contracts for exclusive movies with celebrated filmmakers, the company has elbowed its way aggressively into the entertainment industry, completing its transformation from purely a tech company to an entertainment and media streaming powerhouse. Now it's taken another big step by launching in more than 130 additional countries at once and declaring itself a bona fide global operation.
In a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, CEO Reed Hastings told attendees "you are witnessing the birth of a global TV network." With the massive rollout, the streaming service is now available in more than 190 countries, with newcomers such as India, Russia, and South Korea. Remaining notably absent from its arsenal is China, in which Netflix can't operate until it gets approval from the government. "We're continuing to work on that and we're very patient," said Hastings with respect to that particular white whale.
So what does this new power mean?
Quite simply, it means Netflix's already widespread influence in both tech and entertainment has just gotten massively bigger. The word "Netflix" is already synonymous with streaming entertainment in America, and its expansion to just about the rest of the world suggests a similar association in all those new locales. Shares of Netflix jumped 9 percent soon after the announcement, so clearly it was a successful move from a purely business standpoint as well.
As for the proliferation of its original content, all signs are pointing to massive growth, too. Netflix is poised to invest $5 billion in original shows and films in 2016 on the success of standouts such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, and Jessica Jones. Due to its innovative model of releasing an entire season of a show at once and affording creators room to experiment with this new format of storytelling, the entertainment world has been quick to take its talents to the streaming service.
Going even further, the user experience of watching content on Netflix naturally lends itself to addictive behavior, and the number of add-ons and insider tricks that can enhance binge watching are almost endless. The ability to be both a vehicle for watching entertainment and a production house for original content is a tricky one to pull off, but Netflix seems to be doing it quite well, and has a clear intention to stake its claim as the new age king when it comes to media and entertainment. That's actually been an obvious goal for a while, but by taking over screens in another 130 countries, the sheer scale at which Netflix has been gunning for has now been revealed.
Welcome your official TV overlord. Soon to be overlord of just about everything else you watch, too.
Cover image: Wikimedia