ABU DHABI // Video-streaming service Netflix went live in the UAE and more than 130 other countries on Wednesday.
The service is being launched with the offer a one-month free trial, after users provide their credit card information. Afterwards, the service is offered at three different prices, from Dh30 to Dh44 per month, depending on the streaming quality and the number of screens able to watch at the same time the key.
The number of Netflix programmes and movies available in the UAE is pared down compared to content available for American subscribers. Notable exceptions include The Office, Lost and Dexter, all missing from a listing on the UAE website.
Hit series House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, both produced by Netflix, are also unavailable to UAE subscribers.
“A lot of content is gradually being made available to our subscribers in the UAE, we aim to being the leading streaming service provider,” Netflix UAE said on Twitter on Thursday.
Netflix’s vice president for communications, Joris Evers, said the UAE launch will be followed by additional programming.
“Today is day one for Netflix in the Middle East. We will be learning from our new members starting now and will be growing our offering significantly,” he said.
Without offering a timeline, he said original Netflix titles such as The Get Down, The Crown, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Luke Cage, War Machine, and Fuller House will soon be available, as well as other films, documentaries, and children’s programmes.
The launch announcement was made by the company’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, during the CES 2016 technology show in Las Vegas.
“You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,” Mr Hastings said. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “With the internet, global distribution no longer needs to be fragmented. It means that everyone pretty much everywhere should be able to see great films or TV shows at the exact same moment. “The technology is there. It’s business models that now stand in the way.”
The worldwide launch came earlier than expected as until now the firm had been expanding into markets incrementally with plans of reaching global audience set at the end of this year.
Last month, Mr Evers told The National Netflix’s ambition was “to be global by the end of 2016, and obviously that includes this region”.
The company said it was still attempting to expand into China, one of the few countries where its online services remains unavailable.
Others countries include North Korea and Syria where they are prohibited to operate under US law.
As part of its launch, Netflix is now available in Arabic, Korean, and Chinese, bringing the total number of languages supported to 21.
Source: uae news