Report: Netflix to reach 17M international subs by year-end

A Digital TV Research report predicts that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) will reach 17 million paying subscribers internationally by the end of 2014 thanks to launches in six European countries since the latest numbers were announced in September. In related news, Netflix is shelling out $90 million--second only to HBO's Game of Thrones investment--for a new series Marco Polo that it hopes will attract more international viewers.

Netflix's growth in the U.S. has been slowing down but, according to Digital TV Research, it's picking up in international markets.

"We have made several adjustments to our previous estimates," Simon Murray, principal analyst at the research firm, said in a press release. "Subscriber numbers are now a lot higher in Latin America and a little higher in Canada (and) a lot lower in the U.K. and a little lower in the Nordic countries."

Murray said the analysts "underestimated Latin American" payment problems caused by low credit card ownership, scarce electronic banking and low broadband penetration. These problems were rectified when Netflix introduced simpler payment methods, "which boosted take up."

The international numbers don't include subscribers to the U.S. service based abroad who also won't be part of the new stats when Netflix launches in Australia and New Zealand next March, the researchers said.

Netflix plans to use Marco Polo's exploits to build up that international base even more.

"It is no secret that we want Netflix to be a global product," Ted Sarandos, its chief content officer, told The New York Times. "That is the mission."

That mission includes investing nearly as much in a television series as the more mainstream HBO has dumped into its wildly popular Game of Thrones.

"We just tried to make the most exciting, entertaining show we could about this very special world and hope that it would be accessible in a lot of different markets, in a lot of different regions," Dan Minahan, an executive producer of the series, told the newspaper.

For more:
- Digital TV Research has this press release
- The New York Times has this story
- AOL.com has this story

Related articles:
HBO goes to China, signing OTT distribution deal with Tencent
Netflix may soon hit U.S. subscriber ceiling… and that could limit profits
Netflix stumbles on subscriber growth, keeps revenue in line at $1.41B

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