Netflix expands into Latin America, Caribbean

Forty-three countries will receive access to the streaming movie service in the next week

Netflix will roll out its streaming movie service in 43 Central American, South American and Caribbean countries, beginning with Brazil, the company announced Monday.

"We are committed to offering the same great service, value and choice throughout the Americas, and we can't wait to get started," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement.

The Brazilian service is available now and will cost R$14.99 (US$9.08) per month for unlimited television and film content streamed to PCs and Macs as well as PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Wii game consoles, Netflix said.

The streaming service for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will be rolled out Wednesday for ARS$39 (US$9.28) per month in Argentina and US$7.99 per month in the latter two countries.

Chile and Bolivia will be added on Thursday for CLP$3790 (US$8.19) and US$7.99 per month, respectively. On Friday, Netflix will introduce streaming in Colombia for COP$14,000 (US$7.85) and in Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador for US$7.99 per month.

Mexico, Central America and Caribbean countries will gain Netflix streaming on Monday. The service will cost MXN$99 (US$7.90) in Mexico and US$7.99 per month in Central America and the Caribbean.

The new regions will get content tailor-made for their tastes and cultural sensibilities, Netflix indicated in an official blog post on Monday.

"Over the last few months, our team has spent countless hours in the region learning as much as we can about how Latin Americans think about, and enjoy, movies and TV shows," wrote Rochelle King, vice president of user experience and design."We’ve licensed thousands and thousands of hours of feature films, classic favorites, gripping telenovelas, documentaries and kids shows we know you’ll enjoy."

The expanded coverage area could swell Netflix's customer base well beyond the current 25 million subscribers it already has in North America. But at the same time, the company is facing pressures such as Starz' recent decision to end renewal talks over its streaming-content agreement with Netflix, a pact that has delivered subscribers a large library of higher-profile Hollywood films and television series.

Observers have speculated that Netflix may manage to revive its relationship with Starz but at a significantly higher cost than the previous agreement.

Netflix also raised some customers' hackles recently when it announced a significant price increase.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

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