Netflix, the on-line movie rental business, has launched their offering here in Chile at netflix.cl and across Latin America. For $3,790 chilean pesos per month their subscribers can view as many of the netflix movies and television series as they like. There is no contract and no special equipment required. Users can sign up for the first month for free to try it out. Netflix works by streaming movies to your computer which you can then connect to your TV or watch on your computer. In the USA there are various devices available to allow streaming directly to the television screen. But here in Chile all you need to view HD videos from Netflix on your television is a computer with an hmdi cable connected to your LCD or LED television. The movies are not downloaded. Rather you select from the screen and the movie starts up in seconds on your screen with no need to wait a long time to download it.
In the USA netflix started as a mail-order movie rental business then expanded into on-line movie streaming. Their success at the mail order business was such that it helped push the dominate movie rental company in the USA, Blockbuster, into bankruptcy. Blockbuster continues here in Chile because there assets were purchased by the Dish network satellite company.The Netflix company recently took a beating in the USA stock market when it tried to raise prices on customers there and then decided and then reversed its decision to split the mail delivery and internet delivery offerings into two separate companies.
Here in Chile movies will be offered online only and not in via the mails. In the USA netflix online streaming services faces competition from Appe iTunes, Hulu.com, and Amazon.com. But their entree into Chile makes them the first of American company to offer online movies and television shows available here as most other American web sites and resellers are blocked here export restrictions arising from content licensing issues.Netflix in Chile offers movies in Spanish, English, and Portuguese languages. The user can select which language they prefer for each offering.
Regarding their launch here company spokesman Jonathan Frieland says, “In general, though, I’d say Chileans have been embracing the service and are among the most active Netflix users in the region.”Continuing he adds, “We have a wide range of movies and TV shows, from Hollywood, internationally and from the region. We have soap operas from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Coming soon will be movies from Chilean director Nicolas Lopez, which we licensed not only for Latin America but for North America as well.”
Regarding what they don’t have he says, “We don’t have (Dr.) House, but we do have great serialized television series from the US like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Weeds, Californication, Greys Anatomy, Heroes and much more. In the first week of November, we added over 1000 more titles to Netflix in Latin America.”
Regarding their loss in the USA of the movie reseller Starz (widely reported in the USA newspapers) Frieland says, “Starz is a cable channel in the US that has rights to new Disney and Sony films in the US. We are replacing that content next year with more exclusive content from Dreamworks Animation, Lionsgate, Paramount and others. It has nothing to do with Netflix in Latin America.”
Anyone who lives in Chile knows that the piracy of movies is widespread here with pirated DVDs sold in the streets. Plus there are hundreds if not thousands of web sites that allow users to illegally download movies. Netflix might just help turn that issue around.
Frieland says, “Piracy exists everywhere. As streaming has grown in the US and Canada, the use of bit torrent sites has fallen as people prefer to get their entertainment from sites that are easy to use and have a broad assortment of movies and TV shows. We hope the same pattern plays out in Latin America. A service like Netflix helps ensure the continued creation of great movies and TV shows because we pay the studios so that our members can watch them instantly.”
Currently netflix requires a credit to sign up which not all Chileans have but soon will be expanding to allow debit cards.