Netflix vs. The World: Foreign Streamers Prepare for War
With 23.3 million international subscribers, the SVOD giant seems primed for global domination. However, here are four foreign markets that plan to put up a spirited fight.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
As Netflix expands to 200 countries by the end of 2016, established players in foreign markets have begun to beef up offerings ahead of the new competition. Netflix ended June with 42.3 million U.S. and 23.3 million international subscribers, and Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente predicts by 2020 it will reach a whopping 94 million global subs. Here's a look at key foreign markets where Netflix can expect a fight.
Starting this fall, Netflix will be competing with Sky Italia's Sky Go mobile platform and Sky Online as well as Mediaset Premium, which has 1.77 million subscribers. Mediaset recently closed multiyear deals with Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal, including digital rights to top films and TV series.
While Netflix is touting its original series, Italians still prefer homegrown original programs, which have been a focus for Sky Italia. Its political drama 1992 premiered to 725,000 viewers in Italy, compared with 130,000 for House of Cards, which also airs on Sky Italia's Sky Atlantic network.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in June that the company will launch in Spain in October. In anticipation, Telefonica's Movistar+ and Wuaki.tv, the main providers of Spanish streaming video services, have been beefing up their content with deals that include HBO and CBS. When Netflix debuts, it will do so without some of its signature properties since House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black are available on Wuaki and Movistar.
The country's top five commercial TV networks in July partnered on a catch-up streaming service, dubbed TVer, to launch in October -- around the time Netflix is expected to arrive.
The nets -- Nippon Television Network, TV Asahi, TBS TV, TV Tokyo and Fuji Television Network -- each will supply 10 shows a week, with episodes available for seven days. In addition, Japanese TV networks and industry outlets have formed Japan Contents Group, which in the fall will launch an online pay-per-view service called Bonobo.
Netflix is expected to launch in 2016 and take on existing services like Eros International's ErosNow, Fox's Star India service Hotstar app and Hooq, backed by Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and Singapore telecom giant Singtel. Claiming more than 19 million registered users, ErosNow has the advantage of tapping into its parent company's vast library, which includes more than 3,000 Indian films. In July, ErosNow also unveiled its first set of originals.
"Netflix will have a harder time of it in India than in other countries," says Macquarie Securities analyst Tim Nollen. "Eros has a large portion of Bollywood films, and that is what the local population watches."