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Netflix flips switch 'on' for 130 more countries, shares new original shows

By Natalie Crofts | Posted - Jan. 6, 2016 at 2:18 p.m.


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LAS VEGAS — Netflix flipped its switch on in 130 new countries during a keynote speech at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday morning.

The announcement means the online entertainment giant is now active in every country except China, North Korea, Crimea and Syria, according to Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings. He said the company hopes to gain permission from China's government to operate in that country as well, but the process could take time.

Before Wednesday, Netflix was available in 60 countries.

"The Internet is a beautiful thing because it is naturally global," Hastings said in a question-and-answer session for media after the keynote.

Chelsea Handler, star of Netflix's upcoming documentary series "Chelse Does," interviewed actors Will Arnett of "Arrested Development," Krysten Ritter of "Jessica Jones" and Wagner Moura of "Narcos" on stage. Photo credit: Natalie Crofts/KSL
Chelsea Handler, star of Netflix's upcoming documentary series "Chelse Does," interviewed actors Will Arnett of "Arrested Development," Krysten Ritter of "Jessica Jones" and Wagner Moura of "Narcos" on stage. Photo credit: Natalie Crofts/KSL

In addition to opening more countries to its streaming services, Netflix increased the number of languages it supports. The new languages it will facilitate — on top of the 17 languages it already includes — are Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

Netflix also plans to introduce more than 30 original shows in 2016. With movies, documentaries and other original content factored in, the company will be producing 600 hours of content, according to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

He said Netflix's unique structure allows the entertainment company to take more risks.

"Linear TV only scores with home runs," Sarandos said. "We score with home runs too, but we also score with singles and doubles and triples."

Several of Netflix's upcoming shows were introduced on the CES keynote stage, including "The Crown" and "The Get Down." "The Crown" is set in 1953 England and follows Queen Elizabeth II as she begins her reign, while "The Get Down" addresses the issues faced by a growing New York City in the disco era.

Chelsea Handler, star of Netflix's upcoming documentary series "Chelsea Does," interviewed actors Will Arnett of "Arrested Development," Krysten Ritter of "Jessica Jones" and Wagner Moura of "Narcos" on stage. She repeatedly described working for Netflix as the "best job in the world."

Arnett in particular has a long history of being involved with Netflix's original content projects. His next show, a comedy called "Flaked," is being released in 2016.

"Now, everything that you do is immediately available in all these countries around the world," he said.

There was more than 42.5 billion hours of streaming on Netflix in 2015, according to Hastings. That number will presumably increase dramatically with the expansion of Netflix's network.

Want more CES news?
Check KSL.com and writer Natalie Crofts' Twitter feed for more CES 2016 updates. The conference officially starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday, but additional press events are held Monday and Tuesday.

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