Netflix is in talks with Chinese online broadcasting companies about bringing its content to China, according to The Wall Street Journal. As Netflix faces new competition in the U.S., including HBO Now, Hulu, and Amazon, an expansion into China would bring in potentially millions of new customers. But Chinese online broadcasting executives say that the biggest obstacle between Netflix and China is regional licensing blocks–geoblocking–that prevent content from being shown in certain countries.
There are other limits to broadcasting in China–most notably the delay in airing seasons due to the Chinese government’s screening for sex, violence, and political material that would inflame Beijing, says The Wall Street Journal. Those delays inevitably lead to rampant piracy in China.
Netflix needs new customers. While it is still seeing growth in the U.S., it is signing up new American subscribers at a slower rate. The streaming media giant announced its international strategy back in January, outlining its plan to expand to 200 countries in two years. Netflix’s international growth has outpaced domestic; it gained two international subscribers for every domestic subscriber during the third quarter of 2014, after it expanded to Germany, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Belgium last September.
Netflix needs to expand as HBO, Hulu, Amazon, and others ramp up their streaming content libraries. HBO finally unbundled its content from cable subscriptions last month with its streaming-only HBO Now service. HBO Now puts Netflix on notice, as original content (which ends up being cheaper to make than licensing content) is quickly becoming a differentiator between streaming services. And original content is what HBO has excelled at for the last two decades.
[via The Wall Street Journal]