Netflix hopes to tickle 8m international members in 2013 as it promises more original TV shows and a smart TV experience more like broadcast TV.
The TV and film streaming service has added a million non-US members since January to hit 7.3m, and predicts it will have 7.9m by the end of June.
New shows lined up include Sense8 in late 2014, a sci-fi thriller from the Wachowskis, who
created The Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas, and J. Michael Straszynski, creator of cult series
Turbo: F.A.S.T.(Fast Action Stunt Team), is Netflix’s first original children’s series, a spin-off from DreamWorks Animation’s summer 2012 movie Turbo, which will arrive in December 2013.
Read more about NetflixIn a joint statement, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings and money man David Wells said: “We have a huge opportunity to continue to grow as Internet TV develops globally and are working everyday to make sure our service is as good as it can possibly be.”
Late 2013 and early 2014 will also see a faster new player arrive in smart TVs and set-top boxes, which is now being integrated by consumer electronics manufacturers.
“The new platform emphasizes size and performance improvements, and offers dramatically faster playback startup (aiming to match the time required for a linear channel change),” Hastings and Wells added.
Netflix doesn’t break down its international members by country – including the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Canada, and Scandinavia.
It’s now a third of Netflix’s total membership, with 6.33m paying subscribers, with the company set to expand into a new European location this year.
March saw the worldwide launch of a complete season of Netflix’s US remake of House Of Cards, the British political thriller, with only 0.8 per cent of trial viewers ‘gaming’ their 30-day free trial to watch it for free.
This week saw the launch of 13 episodes of Hemlock Grove, a vampire/werewolf horror thriller from Eli Roth aimed at the bloodthirsty end of Twilight’s fanclub.
“We’re very pleased with its early performance,” Hastings and Wells. “Hemlock Grove was viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House of Cards and has been a particular hit among young adults.”
Netflix has been experimenting with member profiles in the US to fine-tune its recommendations inside families, and expects to roll these out internationally later this year.
Another tech experiment in the USA is doubling the limit of two simultaneous video streams for an increased subscription – but less than one per cent of users are expected to take this up.