LOS ANGELES — Netflix is headed south.
The popular home entertainment subscription company has confirmed that it will launch its online streaming service in 43 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean later this year. An announcement released Tuesday morning didn't specify a precise date.
The move will mark a significant expansion for Netflix, which is available only in the United States and Canada. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has identified international expansion as key to his company's growth, though he hasn't identified where the next launch would be. Entertainment industry executives briefed on the matter who weren't authorized to speak on the record previously told the Los Angeles Times that Netflix was preparing to expand soon to Latin America and Great Britain.
As in Canada, where Netflix debuted in September, Latin American users will only have access to Netflix's online streaming service. DVDs by mail, the company's original offering when it launched in 1998, continues to be available only in the United States.
In Europe, Netflix would face competition from the similar service Lovefilm, which was acquired in January by Amazon.com. But in Latin America, Netflix will have the opportunity to be as dominant as it is in the U.S. and Canada. As of March 31 it had 23.6 million subscribers, 800,000 of whom were from Canada.
The company said its new service in Latin America will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, which is spoken in regional powerhouse Brazil, and will include a mix of American, global and local films and television shows for a single monthly price that has yet to be announced. The company didn't say how much content will be available. Digital rights are typically separated by nation or region, meaning Netflix would have to make separate deals to offer the same movies and television shows in Latin America that users in the U.S. and Canada can currently access.
In the U.S., access to Netflix's online streaming offerings costs as little as $7.99 per month.
(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.
Visit the Los Angeles Times on the Internet at http://www.latimes.com/.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.