In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The online service will offer streaming video this year in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Netflix Inc. announced today plans to further its international expansion by offering a streaming video entertainment service before the end of this year in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Netflix, No. 9 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, already streams movies and TV shows to consumers in Canada, Latin America and the United Kingdom, in addition to the United States. Netflix only offers streaming video internationally, offering DVD-by-mail programs only in the U.S.
CEO Reed Hastings signaled his intention to further expand in Europe in a call with analysts last month following the company’s release of its second quarter financial results. “We see a big opportunity in Europe to provide an on-demand service, the likes of which really have not been seen,” Hastings told analysts. “We're focused on Europe because we've been extremely pleased with the U.K. launch and with the 1 million subs in the first 6.5 months. So we really are feeling quite good about our competitiveness in Europe.”
Netflix went live in the United Kingdom and Ireland in January, charging the equivalent of US$9-$11 per month for its streaming video service. The company did not say what it would charge in the Nordic countries, other than to say that there would be “one low monthly price.”
Netflix, which built its business on sending DVDs through the mail but is rapidly shifting to delivering video over the Internet, says it now has 27 million subscribers worldwide to its streaming service. That includes 24 million in the U.S., and 1 million each in Latin America and the U.K. Netflix has not said how many video streaming subscribers it has in Canada, but says its services reaches 10% of Canadian households. There were 12.4 million households in Canada in the country’s 2006 census, according to Statistics Canada, a government agency.
Netflix still sends DVDs through the mail to 9.2 million U.S. subscribers, many of whom also subscribe to the streaming video service.
Netflix faces competition in Europe from, among others, Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Amazon last year bought LoveFilm, a U.K. company that offers a video streaming service like that of Netflix, and last month announced it would make London the headquarters of its worldwide program for serving movies and TV shows to web-connected televisions, computers, mobile phones, tablets and other devices.