Netflix boss: High content costs and lack of local language content is limiting Asia progress

Reed HastingsThe CEO and co-founder of Netflix has admitted that the high cost of licensing content is limiting the internet television firm’s progress in Asia.

Talking to staff and journalists at Netflix’s regional headquarters in Singapore, Reed Hastings, who has been with the company since it launched in the late nineties, acknowledged that the limited slate of content on the platform in Singapore was “frustrating” for customers.

“We know it’s frustrating, but we’re growing into having global content so that everybody has the content,” Hastings said in a report by Today newspaper this morning.

“We’re trying to pay for global licensing… for all the content around the world so that it’s fair to the content owner and it gives the people what they want, which is the global selection,” he said.

Hastings added that another reason for the limited content selection in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia is that licensing rights for some shows had been negotiated for specific countries, and those deals would need to expire before they could be renegotiated for other markets.

The lack of Asian language shows was another limiting factor for Netflix, Hastings conceded.

He said: “In most countries, such as Vietnam we’re only in English [and only accept] international credit cards. We’ve got a little over 20 languages; YouTube has 50. So we’ve got a way to go when it comes to language and payment methods.”

“But the reason we went global is that we realised that we’re going to increase our rate of learning if we do,” he said.

Netflix has been on an aggressive hiring spree in Asia since the start of the year, and is working with agencies including The Secret Little Agency to build its brand presence in the region.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing