Netflix brings its on-demand TV to Cuba

GMT 19:03 2015 Monday ,09 February

Arab Today, arab today Netflix brings its on-demand TV to Cuba

Streaming television giant Netflix
Washington - AFP

Streaming US television giant Netflix said Monday it was now offering service to Cuba with "a curated selection of popular movies and TV shows."
Netflix, which is aiming for 200 global markets in the coming years, made the announcement amid a thaw in US-Cuba relations following a decades-old embargo by Washington.
In a statement, Netflix said the service is available "starting today," for "people in Cuba with Internet connections and access to international payment methods."
"We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world," said Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings.
"Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members."
Full details of the programming were not announced, but Netflix said it would offer Cubans its original series such as "House of Cards," "Orange is the New Black" and "Marco Polo," along with "a wide range of films, series and kids programming, as it does throughout Latin America."
The Netflix audience could be limited in Cuba however because of the relatively small number of people with high-speed Internet and a lack of access to hard currency.
US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro surprised the world in December when they simultaneously announced plans to normalize relations following months of secret negotiations.
The raising of the US and Cuban flags in each other's capitals would send powerful signals of the new era the two nations want to enter, though no timeline has been given for the reopening of embassies.
Cubans have voiced hope that the warming ties will translate into improvements in their daily lives in a country where supermarket shelves are bare and people make around $20 a month.
Netflix announced last week it would start operating in Japan, on the heels of planned expansion in Australia and New Zealand.
Netflix subscribers can stream video content using smart TVs, tablet computers, smartphones, computers, and Internet-linked game consoles and set-top boxes.
The expansion comes amid an increasing shift to Internet-based on-demand television, with offerings from rivals such as Amazon, Time Warner's HBO and CBS, among others.
Netflix announced in January that it boosted membership to more than 57 million users at the end of 2014, a gain of 13 million. Profits jumped to $266 million for the year on $5.5 billion in revenue.

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