What is your strategy for Asia? Is it similar to any other region – why?
We are only 100 days into our launch in Asia (as of APOS). Just like everywhere else in the world where we have launched, our early adopters have always been consumers who are digitally-connected, tech-savvy, have smartphones and an iTunes account. We want to win subscribers through the quality of our content and our technology. Firstly, our exclusive content is a key differentiator. Our top priority is to continue to educate and share the joy of the Netflix experience with our audiences in Asia.
We have something for everyone. For example, Bloodline; for mystery or thriller fans, Good Morning Call – our very first Japanese original content; for j-drama fans, kids content like BEAT BUGS; an animated series inspired by the songs of The Beatles; family sitcoms like Fuller House; the excitement of Marvel’s Daredevil; and even award-winning documentaries like What happened, Miss Simone?, just to name a few from the library.
Then, there is technology that is making a key difference for consumers through the experience and control that they have with Netflix. Consumers like the fact that we offer a flat-fee with unlimited viewing, commercial-free experience and they are able to seamlessly cancel anytime without commitments. They can watch as many as they want, anytime and anywhere via any internetconnected screen. They can play, pause and resume watching on some 1,000 devices. There are settings for parental controls, language, playback, bandwidth settings and more for a peaceful experience.
The Asian OTT landscape is suddenly swarming with so many players. Do you foresee tough competition?
We are all competing for our consumers’ time. So rather than watching Netflix, someone could be reading, playing video games, or dining out. Ultimately, we have to deliver a product and content that makes Netflix the easy choice over something else. That is why; we remain focused on making our service better — better personalisation, better streaming, better movies and TV shows. It’s up to us to win that moment when people decide what to do with their time.
Many operators / broadcasters are dying to partner Netflix. But, what are your prerequisites to shoulder an associate in Asia?
Similar to our content portfolio, our partnerships have expanded in scope over the years, growing in status with the launch of our service across the world. We originally focused on consumer electronic device integration; Netflix partnerships now span a wide array of relationships with pay-TV and mobile operators, internet service providers, mobile device and set-top box manufacturers, and brick and mortar retailers (gift cards).
We integrate Netflix to make it easier for subscribers to sign up, access and pay for the service. In addition, our partners benefit through customer acquisition, the opportunity to upsell higher value packages of speed/data/content, lower churn and increase in brand affinity.
Our partnerships in Asia (for example: Singtel and StarHub in Singapore and PCCW Media’s now TV in Hong Kong) fits in with how we want to deliver a seamless Netflix experience through their extensive networks of broadband connectivity. Netflix Open Connect is also provided free to ISPs to allow for more efficient management of their networks to deliver an unparalleled streaming experience of Netflix’s library of TV shows and movies through their products.
How much are you spending in Asia to put things in perspective, and when are you expecting a breakthrough? Which country would likely emerge first?
Like in any other new region we have launched, those who come on board first for the Netflix experience are generally early adopters of technology and entertainment enthusiasts. It is easy to imagine that the market that would emerge first in Asia would be likely; those with highly-developed broadband and pay-TV markets overall. Our current members (subs) in Asia attach a great value to the Netflix experience and the quality of our original series and movies. Testament to that is the fact that in Q1 2016, we grew our total subscription by 6.7 million members, bringing us to 81.5 million globally. Of which, international subs account for over 42% (over 34.5 million).
What is the status of your local production? When can Asian viewers expect local Netflix content?
This will take time and we are working to find the best local storytellers. For Asian content, we are already producing in Japan which includes titles such as Atelier, Terrace House, Perfect Bones and the latest is our original series, Hibana. We also recently announced Okja directed by Bong Joon Ho.
Today, our original content continues to expand at an incredible pace. We released nearly 450 hours of global original content in 2015 and we are planning, over 600 hours in 2016. This year, Netflix is planning about 75 originals with 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series. We used to produce in the U.S. but now, we are creating original series and movies from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Italy, Mexico and the UK. Similarly in Asia, we are looking out for new and compelling projects that will not only appeal in Asia but to a global audience.
Ultimately, whether in the U.S., Europe or Asia, we look for talented storytellers with a strong track record and have stories they are passionate to tell the