Netflix expands global reach, Wall Street cheers

Shares in Netflix jumped as much as 8% on Wednesday after the streaming serving giant took a big step to expand its global footprint.

Kicking off the day at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with his keynote address, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the Los Gatos-based company had activated service in 130 more countries, including Russia, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Since launching in 2007, Netflix has expanded into Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to include 60 countries. Now Netflix has services in more than 190 countries.

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” Hastings told the crowd. “With this launch, consumers around the world -- from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo -- will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously -- no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

As part of the expansion, Netflix added Arabic, Korean and Chinese to the 17 other languages it offers.

After finding success in the U.S. with its DVD-by-mail business and now its streaming service, Netflix has increasingly focused on expanding around the world.

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Last year, the company rolled out its services in Japan, Australia and Spain, among others. And it plans this year to launch in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

One country that notably remains out of its hands is China, where Netflix faces competition from local streaming services.

The company said in a statement that it “continues to explore options” for making its service available in one of Hollywood’s most coveted markets. The company also noted that it won’t be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria “due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies.”

Netflix closed out its third quarter last year with 69.2 million streaming subscribers in more than 40 countries -- 26 million of those are international subscribers.

But the company has started to come under close examination by investors over its subscriber growth in the U.S., which has fallen short of projections. The slow down trend is expected to continue when Netflix announces its fourth quarter 2015 earnings results this month.

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Netflix shares dropped Monday following a downgrade from Robert W. Baird, which lowered its price target to $115.

But on Wednesday, Netflix shares rebounded after the announcement, climbing 8% to $116.46 in late afternoon trading. 

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