Heading south. Netflix has confirmed it will expand its online video service to 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, marking its second foray outside the U.S. as it began offering its services in Canada last year. Netflix, which offers TV shows and movies over the Internet and rents DVDs through the mail, is seeking new subscribers as competitors such as Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Hulu are moving in on its turf.
In the widely anticipated move, Netflix said on Tuesday that subscribers in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean will be able to access shows and movies in Spanish, Portuguese or English later this year. The Latin American market has an estimated 215 million user base, compared to the U.S. with about 245 million. Netflix noted it expects to have $50-70 million in operating losses during the second half of the year due to its second international expansion.
Once considered a friend to TV and movie studios, media conglomerates have
fretted over the service's popularity because it threatens traditional cable and satellite providers. The fear is that consumers will drop pricey cable packages, known as cord cutting, in favour of cheaper services offered by companies such as Netflix. The online video service company has more than 23 million subscribers. By contrast, Comcast (CMCSA), the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, has 22.8 million subscribers as of March 31.
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