In a surprising reveal at a CES 2016 keynote, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix was rolling out globally bring its Internet TV network to more than 130-countries around the world.
The streaming service was previously available in parts of the Americas, parts of Europe and South East Asia. With the global rollout, Netflix will not yet be available in China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies.
In Kenya, while not on their official documentation, the Netflix Kenya – http://www.netflix.com/ke – page works and we were not only able to login to a Netflix account without need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, the Android app is now available for download on the Google Play Store and logging into it works too. We also had social media notes of people successfully signing up for the first time and being able to get on the service.
Late last year, there was speculation that the service would launch in South Africa and it had people familiar with the service excited. Little did we know it would be a bigger all inclusive roll out. Entertainment seekers often have had to result to forking out a lot of money for expensive satellite TV packages.
The biggest challenge to Netflix’s reach in this region remains the low internet penetration especially for high speed connections that a streaming service would require. A big number of people are only just getting connected and mostly via mobile devices. Internet costs remain high and latencies worse.
Still, it’s welcome and we hope it inspires an end to geo-restricted content.