It’s official: Netflix is taking over the world, at least in the online television viewing sphere. While Netflix had been rolling out its services in incremental stages due to subtitling, dubbing its content, and marketing cost, its expansion occurred far ahead of schedule. During his keynote address at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Reed Hastings, the Chief Executive of Netflix, announced that the company was live in all countries, excluding Syria, Crimea, and North Korea, where it’s banned by US law from operating, and China. The Great Firewall of China, the government-controlled mechanism that regulates Internet activity in Mainland China and censors content the government deems “inappropriate,” currently prohibits Chinese users from accessing Netflix. Although it is possible to bypass the Great Firewall, before Netflix can legally operate in the billion-person Chinese market, it must receive specific permission from the Chinese government. While it is currently negotiating with the appropriate governmental bodies, in anticipation of its (inevitable) entry into China, Netflix is in the process of adding Chinese to its list of supported languages. Over 12 billion hours of video were streamed in the final three months of 2015 alone even without the Chinese market. Once Netflix is introduced into the most densely populated country in the world, the streaming media company will truly have global exposure.
Loren Shokes is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).