Watch-on-demand service hits right button for Netflix viewers
The video streaming service has seen its membership pass the one million mark in Ireland and the UK
Just over a year after video streaming service Netflix launched in Ireland, chief executive Reed Hastings is happy with how it is going.
Netflix has expanded from the personal computer to a multitude of devices – from tablets and mobile phones to consoles – offering users a choice of how, and when, they watch. It has also managed to sign up new content partners.
“It’s gone great. Six months ago, we crossed one million members in the UK and Ireland, but we’ve seen a little disproportionate success in Ireland than in the UK, and we’ve been really excited by it,” he said.
“We’re hopeful that as the Irish economy and housing crisis passes, that it will continue to grow.”
Hastings is confident the ongoing economic difficulties won’t affect the company’s success here “because we’re at the value end . . . In the US we’ve gone through two [recessions], and neither of them impacted us”, he says. “You cut down on more expensive experiences.”
The company hasn’t revealed the exact number of people who have signed up for Netflix in Ireland, preferring instead to present figures for Britain and Ireland together.
The “disproportionate” growth in Ireland could be attributed to a lack of competition in the streaming sector.
In the US, Netflix faces competition from Amazon and Comcast’s Streampix; in Britain, LoveFilm is vying with Hastings’s firm to win over customers.
But Hastings says the main competition here is from cable and satellite.
“The main thing Netflix offers is that sense of control. You can watch in the middle of the night, the middle of the afternoon. You can pick the show you want. That’s different from looking at the programming grid for Sky or anyone else,” he says.
In Ireland, that situation has changed slightly, particularly with on-demand services from Sky and UPC now available, but Hastings isn’t too concerned.
“Those high levels of competition exist in every market,” says Hastings.
Perhaps in response to growing competition, Netflix is changing its business, introducing its “originals” offering, content exclusive to Netflix.
The first series shot solely for the streaming service is House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey. The full series of 13 episodes will be available on Netflix from February 1st. Mystery series Hemlock Grove will become available on April 19th.
Plans are in place to keep adding to this roster of content to attract more users.
People around the world are often frustrated that shows aren’t available at the same time as they are in the US,” Hastings says. “We’re trying to fix that.”