But will China remain elusive?
Netflix’s aggressive push into international markets might just pay off, according to a new report.
The streaming services’s international subscriber base is expected to outpace the company’s U.S. subscriber base by 2018, according to data analytics firm, IHS Markit.
“By 2018, international subscribers will overtake the number of subscribers in the US for the first time, and by 2020, Netflix will have 75 million international subscribers,” IHS Technology senior analyst Irina Kornilova wrote in a Tuesday note. “By 2020, Netflix global revenues are expected to reach $13 billion, with 53% accounted for by Netflix International markets. Domestic streaming revenues are expected to hit $6.2 billion by 2020, and international revenues to reach $7 billion.”
That comes as domestic subscriptions have slowed in past quarters, pressuring the video streaming service to enter international markets. As a result, Netflix has rolled out multiple languages, streams in over 190 countries, and has created several localized foreign original shows with international appeal such as Spanish-language Narcos.
While Netflix is certainly banking on international markets, there’s a giant China-shaped hole on the streaming service’s map. The world’s second biggest economy has been resilient to foreign competition partially due to the government’s tougher regulations and stringent censorship laws there. Though Netflix has been attempting to negotiate with Beijing, it’s treading a path that tech giants Google, Twitter, and Facebook have walked—and abandoned.
But there is at least one market Netflix is unlikely to crack for years to come. North Korea, which recently unveiled its own, Netflix-esque streaming service called Manbang, will give some DPRK citizens access to documentaries about their illustrious leader, Kim Jong Un, on demand.