Netflix one of the world’s largest online media services has announced a new phase in it’s expansion plans. It comes at a time when for the first time in it’s history, Netflix is seeing a slowdown in subscriber growth. One of the reasons, although there are several, is the fact that currently Netflix mainly provides English language content. Although this is the biggest worldwide market it does limit it’s appeal in many countries.
Poland is one of those places, although it represents one of the biggest TV markets in Europe – English language programmes are a relatively niche market without widespread appeal. This situation is repeated in many countries across the world where Netflix has provided the service but has yet to see any real expansion. The media giant has decided to ‘go local’ and is using Poland as a pilot for it’s new phase of expansion.
The media giant aims to provide 80% of the content on it’s Polish version of Netflix in the Polish language. That is either the audio dubbed into Polish or Polish subtitles provided on all English films, movies and shows. It is hoped that this will greatly improve the appeal of the service and indeed maybe even lead to a surge in subscribers from the UK who already use a Polish proxy to access domestic TV stations like TV which are also region locked.
If successful we can see this being expanded into other regions where the take up on English language versions of Netflix is poor. Expansion into places like China would obviously be a likely step but also boosting already available regions in South America and Japan who have some local content but it is largely English language content.
Netflix have also commissioned several shows from local talent including a few stand up comics and entertainers from Poland in a further effort to produce a more local version. It also hopes that this will help to stop current subscribers from switching versions by changing their IP address, although Netflix has already been blocking access to with it’s well publicised Netflix VPN ban(story), there are still millions of subscribers who don’t stick to their region locked version of the service.
This however is likely to continue until Netflix is able to finally produce a standard global service which is accessible to all irrespective of the location they are in. For example it’s obviously unfair for Canadian subscribers to pay the same price for a small percentage of the content available across the US border.