Netflix announced today that it is offering its streaming video service to residents of Cuba.
The easing of U.S. trade restrictions with Cuba has led to increased access to the Internet for citizens of Cuba. However, public Wi-Fi in Cuba still remains out of reach for many, with the price of access at $4.50 per hour and the average monthly income in Cuba at around $25. Would-be Netflix subscribers in Cuba will also need access to international payment methods such as credit and debit cards, which many do not have.
The move makes Netflix one of the first major web content companies to start doing business in Cuba.
Netflix’s original series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black will be available in Cuba, along with select other films, shows, and children’s programming. (No word yet on how Cubans are reacting to shows about the seedy underbelly of D.C. and the injustices of the American prison system.)
While Netflix will originally function as a way for Cubans to import culture, it may also become an avenue for Cuban artists to reach the outside world.
“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 cofounder and CEO 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.”JC