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