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Netflix heading for 17 mn international subs

MUMBAI: Internet TV network Netflix is expected to achieve 17 million paying subscribers to its international operations by the end of 2014. In September, it had reported 14.4 million international subs.

Launches in six European countries during September will help to boost the total, noted Digital TV Research.

Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray said, “We have made several adjustments to our previous estimates [based on the June results]: subscriber numbers are now a lot higher in Latin America (and a little higher in Canada). Subscriber numbers are now a lot lower in the UK (and a little lower in the Nordic countries).”

“We underestimated Latin America last time due to the historic payment problems that Netflix encountered (low credit card ownership; little electronic banking; low broadband penetration etc). Netflix has introduced simpler payment methods (such as prepaid cards) which has boosted take up. However, economic slowdown is expected in the region, especially in Argentina and Venezuela, which could hit Netflix take-up.”

These international figures do not include subscribers to the US service who are based abroad. It is relatively easy to do this by using unblocker software, VPNs and DNS proxies. This is more common in Latin America and Canada than in Europe. The US service provides more titles and more recent titles.

Netflix has announced plans to launch in Australia and New Zealand next March. However, more than 200,000 Australian homes already subscribe to the US service.

How many homes are receiving Netflix for free (usually as part of a trial)? The number of non-paying members is as high as it has ever been, but it is not as high as some suggest. Much of the increase in the quarter to September was due to the expansion in six new European markets.