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Netflix Poised To Expand Into Middle East

Netflix is moving into the Middle East, an area with a population estimated at 370 million and a young, highly wired demographic.

The subscription VOD company has posted job ads for marketing and social media manager positions in the Middle East and ‎Joris Evers, vice president and head of communications for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Netflix, confirmed plans to expand in the region as part of their global expansion which they’ve previously said they plan to complete by 2016.

Currently Netflix can be viewed in some parts of the region, including the United Arab Emirates, but only with a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

In April Starz beat Netflix to the punch launching its Starz Play Arabia OTT subscription service across 17 territories in the Middle East and North Africa, marking the first Starz-branded service outside the U.S.

The presence in parts of the Middle East of other OTTs such as IcFlix, Telly, and OSN Play indicate that the market is ripe and ready.

The two top subscription services in the MENA region are Starz Play and IcFlix.

Icflix offers Hollywood, Bollywood, and also Arabic content, including original Egyptian productions. Launched in 2013, it reportedly has 250,000 customers across the Middle East and North Africa. Iciflix is available in Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Netflix, which currently has more than 69 million subscribers in more than 50 countries – 43 million of which in the U.S. – is stepping up global expansion plans, its most recent international launches being Spain and Italy.

Netflix is expected to surpass 100 million subscribers globally in 2018, according to report released by IHS Technology on Wednesday.

The research firm is expecting Netflix subscribers to grow 22 percent by 2019, gaining 10 million new customers in the U.S., 10 million in Europe, and the rest in other international markets.


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