After a lot of rumours, debating and wishing, video streaming giant Netflix officially announced that it will be launching in South Africa – right now!
Last year saw a flurry of suspicion as to when the service will be made available locally, as the company did say that it wants to be present in almost all countries in the world before the end of the year.
During his keynote at this year’s CES, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said that it has, as of the keynote, launched in 130 countries.
Subscriptions, at time of writing, are still in dollars starting at $7.99 (R126.42) per month.
“Today, I am delighted to announce that while we have been here on stage at CES, we switched Netflix in Azerbaijan, in Vietnam, in India, in Nigeria, in Poland, in Russia, in Saudi Arabia, in Singapore, in South Korea, in Turkey, in Indonesia, and in 130 new countries.”
Hastings also revealed that in the fourth quarter of last year, more than 12 billion hours of Netflix have been watched, and that it has become easier for people to stream content.
“Internet speeds have become faster and more reliable, with the global average of speeds climbing. Across the world, they have all figured out that faster internet speeds are key to be a better live. The VCR and the DVR gave people what they wanted, TV on demand. With the internet this became easier. With the internet, we can finally give people what they’ve always wanted”, said Hastings during the briefing.
Many South Africans have been anticipating the launch of the service since Netflix announced that there were plans to include South Africa in the service offering in January 2015.
According to Hastings, Netflix currently has 70 million subscribers in 60 countries enjoying 12 billion hours of movies, series (some of which are produced in-house by Netflix itself such as Narcos and House of Cards) and documentaries in an all-you-can-eat style.
During the keynote Netflix announced two new Netflix Original series, The Crown which tells the story of Queen Elizabeth and stars Matt Smith. The second is Baz Luhrmann’s series, The Get Down which is set in New York at the birth of disco and graffiti. Unfortunately only CES attendees were treated to the trailers for these two shows .
Whether Netflix will enjoy the same success in South Africa as it has in other parts of the world remains to be seen but at least now, South Africans won’t have to learn how to set up a VPN to enjoy Netflix.