Can streaming shows like Making A Murderer and Narcos prove to be binge-watching fodder in Russia the way they are in the U.S.? Netflix could find out before the end of the month.
The popular streaming service might be close to launching in Russia, where it could start picking up new subscribers before the end of January, according to a report from Russian newspaper Izvestia that cites multiple anonymous sources. Russia could be a huge new market for Netflix as the country reportedly boasts more than 80 million Internet users.
passed 69 million global users in October. In an email to Fortune, Netflix spokesman Yann Lafargue said, “We’ve said we plan to be nearly global by the end of 2016, including Russia,” but he did not share any additional information on a specific launch date target for Netflix in that country.
CEO Reed Hastings has been adamant about completing Netflix’s global expansion plan, which includes bringing the service to 200 countries (it’s currently in over 50), by the end of this year. The company expanded to Japan last fall and plans to launch in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore in early 2016. There has also been some speculation that Netflix could announce a launch date for India at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.
Netflix’s rapid global expansion comes as the streaming service also doubles down on growing its content portfolio of original movies and series. The company recently said it plans to double its number of original scripted series in 2016 to more than 30 while also adding more original films and other programming. As Netflix looks to attract more and more global subscribers, the company is also creating original content targeted at foreign audiences, including the Spanish-language-heavy hit Narcos and the upcoming French-language series Marseille.