Published on January 6th, 2016 | by Yasser Masood2
Netflix comes to the Middle East
Say goodbye to VPNs that allowed you to watch US streaming services by spoofing your IP – Netflix has officially announced that they’re rolling out worldwide availability including the Middle East and India. The announcement was made at CES 2016 by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the keynote, showing its growing popularity and the international demand for it. With the Middle East rollout, users will also get official support for Arabic. From 60 countries to today’s 130 worldwide rollout, users who have known about it will definitely be rushing to their devices to sign up.
One thing we’ve noticed is the difference in content from the US side, and we can expect to see original Arabic content as well. Most of the content should be easily viewable for people across the Middle East. In addition, most of the current library options will likely come with Arabic subtitles as well. One thing to discuss is that availability of content on Netflix will be determined by distribution rights from studios (some may not be available in certain regions), hence it’ll be tailored and adapted to each region.
Note that the only Middle East country excluded from this is Syria (due to government restrictions on US companies). Rates are starting at US$ 7.99 (all pricing is being done in US$ across the Middle East but India has it in INR), and looks to be inline with pricing in the US. On the contrary, if you do use the official Netflix app on iOS and Android, you’ll see prices in the respective local currency based on your app store location.
As there are already some streaming services available in the region, Netflix’s entry into the Middle East will definitely shake things up. Similar offerings by local telecom operators will have to brace themselves for a rise in bandwidth use from their customers.
Better make sure that your broadband connection is up for the bandwidth hog, as people will likely start watching their favourite shows. Will you sign up for Netflix (the first month is FREE)? Let us know in the comments.
Update (07-01-2016): Netflix has launched its Twitter account for the Middle East (@Netflix_ME). You can follow them there for Middle East related updates on their content.