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Netflix to Stream Into Italy, Spain and Portugal in October

Netflix plans to roll into southern Europe this fall, setting October launches for Italy, Spain and Portugal, the company announced Saturday.

The expansion is part of the No. 1 subscription-video provider’s aggressive aim of reaching some 200 countries, to be available virtually everywhere in the world, by the end of 2016.

Netflix didn’t announce pricing for the three new markets. Last fall, it debuted in six European nations — Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland — at 7.99 Euros per month.

Customers in Italy and Spain will have access to content with in-language subtitles and dubbing; Netflix is offering Portuguese subtitles for customers there.

The company offers service in more than 55 countries, including the U.S. (its biggest market); Canada; the U.K.; Mexico; Brazil and 42 other Latin American countries; and Australia and New Zealand.

Netflix this fall expects to launch in its first Asian territory, with Japan slated for a fall 2015 rollout.

And Netflix is clearly interested in entering China — the world’s most-populous market — but faces several hurdles in getting there, including procuring a license from the government to operate an SVOD service. “For China, we are still exploring options — all of them modest,” CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells wrote a letter to shareholders earlier this year.

Netflix noted that customers in Italy, Spain and Portugal will have access to original series including “Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Sense8,” “Bloodline, “Grace and Frankie,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Marco Polo” as well as original documentaries like “Virunga” and stand-up comedy specials.

In addition, Netflix is launching its first original feature films later this year. Titles include “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” — the sequel to the 2000 original — plus “Beasts of No Nation,” “Jadotville” and “The Ridiculous 6.”

However, Netflix’s two biggest series, “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” will not be initially available in Italy, Spain or Portugal because those shows have already been licensed exclusively to TV networks in those territories.

Netflix had 62.3 million subscribers worldwide as of the end of March, including 20.9 million outside the U.S., after adding a record 4.9 million subs in Q1.

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