Netflix continued its dominant control of the online US video market in 2010, and had a successful introduction into the Canadian market towards the end of the year. Netflix looks to continue its success with an international launch outside of North America in early 2011, but exact details on the launch information haven’t been released.
There are plenty of rival companies to compete with, but Netflix should have a significant advantage despite being considered an outsider in many foreign lands.
“After a short period in Canada we’re now talking about other regions in the world, so that’s a good indicator,” said Steve Swasey, Netflix spokesperson, during a recent media interview. “We’re extremely pleased with the reception in Canada and … based on the early success of Netflix.ca we’re going to continue our international expansion next year and we’re going to allocate significant dollars to it.”
Netflix will need to choose its initial international markets carefully, because reaching out to foreign markets opens the door to new issues. The company will need to work with new copyright groups, governments and customers that aren’t as familiar with Netflix — but I expect them to have all of the right pieces in place to succeed.
The Canadian launch was a perfect pilot program, as Netflix didn’t have enough new movie releases ready for Canadian viewers. Interested customers voiced their displeasure, and Netflix will look to avoid similar problems with future launches.
Netflix announced its plans to enter the Canadian market months ahead, which gave Canadian consumers plenty of time to learn more about the service.
Netflix also rolled out a US streaming-only plan so consumers are now able to stream movies and TV shows without renting DVDs.
Meanwhile, Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall thinks this is the appropriate time for Apple to buy Netflix instead of trying to promote a rival product against the movie giant. The battles that will occur remain to be seen, but Netflix will look to maintain control on the US market while invading new markets in 2011 and beyond.