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Netflix adds 43 countries

Jennifer Collins Jul 5, 2011

Netflix adds 43 countries

Jennifer Collins Jul 5, 2011

Kai Ryssdal: I had to double check this today before I came into the studio, but shares of Netflix were up 8 percent on this Tuesday, — $21, to a new all-time high. The movie rental company has 23 million subscribers and has sent fear into the hearts of cable companies worried about losing customers. Apparently, that’s not enough.

Netflix said today it’s going to branch out into 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins has more on whether the company’s really ready for its new destinations, and whether they’re ready for Netflix.

Jennifer Collins: Latin America and the Caribbean could offer up nearly as many subscribers as the United States. That’s a lot of movies and TV shows streaming over the Internet to computers, smartphones and tablets. Netflix can eat up about 30 percent of broadband traffic in the U.S. around primetime. Can Latin America handle that?

University of Kansas film professor Tamara Falicov says, yes, in some countries like Mexico, Argentina, and:

Tamara Falicov: Brazil is incredibly wired. These people are extremely savvy. They’re all voting electronically.

But Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala?

Falicov: Other countries that are not so developed in Latin America, it will be more problematic.

Porter Bibb of MediaTech Capital Partners says Netflix is under pressure from stockholders to keep growing.

Porter Bibb: I think it has to or else it will either hit a wall or more likely be taken over.

And he says the company faces little competition in Latin America. Netflix says it’s rolling out the service later this year, but it hasn’t said what it will cost. Gartner analyst Mike McGuire says price won’t be the only challenge facing the company.

Mike McGuire: Brazil may love Tom Cruise movies. Venezuela, not so much.

But with movies in Spanish, Portuguese, English — Netflix is betting on this reception:

Renee Zellweger from Jerry Maguire: You had me at hello.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

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