Netflix Inc., the nation’s leading mail order movie rental company, said this week that it is expanding its operations into Latin America and the Caribbean.
After a successful launch of its Internet streaming service in Canada earlier last year, Netflix will launch operations in 43 countries in Central and South America, with programming available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
After focusing on domestic growth over the last several years, including establishing a dominant position in the United States after chief rival Blockbuster Inc. fell on hard times, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has his sights set abroad.
The Latin American service, which will begin later this year, is for online streaming, and include “unlimited TV shows and movies streaming instantly over the Internet to TVs and computers for one low monthly subscription price,” according to a statement from Netflix.
The company had 23.6 million subscribers as of March 31, according to company filings, 800,000 of which were Canadian customers. Analysts say that Netflix has an opportunity to become a dominant player south of the border.
Netflix’s programming will include TV shows, and a mix of locally produced and globally popular movies in several languages. The company has yet to disclose pricing, which is expected to vary by region, but its lowest Web subscription-only fee is $7.99 per month in the United States.
Shares of Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) have soared this year, gaining more than 64 percent since Jan. 1. After the announcement of its Latin American expansion, its shares were up in aftermarket trading on Tuesday evening.