- REUTERS/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool
In a January keynote speech in Las Vegas, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings dramatically revealed that Netflix had gone live in 130 new markets in a single day, bringing the total to over 190 countries.
Netflix is now in every major market except China, but they aren’t all created equal.
In fact, many of the 130 new countries are what the company calls “skim” markets, where Netflix doesn’t yet provide its full suite of services. These include “local language customer service, local language content dubbing/subtitles, pricing and subscription execution in local currency,” and so on, analysts at UBS wrote in a report Monday.
Netflix will likely enhance its service in these countries based on the traction it gets, the analysts say.
And so far, there are big variances in how populations have responded to Netflix. Using app downloads as a proxy for new subscribers, UBS looked at Netflix’s performance in these test markets following their January launch. It should be noted that app downloads could be an imperfect proxy for Netflix subscriber growth, as it only tracks one segment of users.
The analysts saw the strongest adoption in places with significant English-speaking populations, like South Africa, India, and Singapore. India’s strong performance is particularly good news for Netflix, as it is such a gargantuan market.
Here is a chart of Netflix’s app performance in skim markets where interest seems to be holding:
But there are other big markets that aren’t performing well. UBS points to Russia, Thailand, and Turkey as trouble spots for Netflix.
Here is a look at how downloads for the app have fallen off since launch (Russia’s drop in app rankings is particularly steep):
One deficiency in these skim markets could be the size of Netflix’s catalog.
Researchfrom the website Unogssuggests Netflix still has a way to go in making its catalog the same across the board. At the top, US subscribers have 5,684 titles to choose from. But skim markets like Russia generally have much fewer (1025, in this case). That goes from high-performing ones as well: India has only 949 titles.
This could be one reason why, in general, the analysts estimate Netflix “skim” markets are pacing below their initial estimates for 2016.