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Netflix’s global expansion is bad news for these Australian companies

You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network.”

Those were the words from Reed Hastings, CEO of global video streaming giant Netflix, after the service went live in almost every country around the world overnight. It added the Internet TV network to more than 130 new countries around the world, expanding on its presence in roughly 60 countries where the service was already available.

In his keynote speech, Hastings said:

With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

Source: Netflix

Source: Netflix

Netflix’s shares soared more than 9% on the news, reflecting how impressed investors were that the company was able to accelerate its plan to be fully global by the end of 2016.

The one notable exclusion from the list of countries that can now access Netflix is China, represented by the grey land mass on the chart above, although Netflix confirmed it is still exploring options to provide the service there. The other exceptions are Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies.

Netflix in Australia

Netflix confirmed overnight that it has more than 70 million members in 190 countries, who enjoy more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day.

Indeed, the service has certainly taken off in Australia since it launched here in March 2015 with Roy Morgan providing the following chart in November. It’s likely that the number of householders with Netflix has grown even since then.

Source: Roy Morgan

Source: Roy Morgan

Of course, it’s highly likely that the rise of Netflix is impacting video downloads or the purchase of physical DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In that sense, it’s lucky that companies like JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) are well diversified to withstand a potential decline, especially now that they’re also expanding into white goods. Trouble is, it seems likely that our free-to-air television networks will struggle to remain relevant.

Aside from sports and some reality TV shows, individuals are increasingly switching off from channels offered by Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN), Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC) and Seven West Media Ltd (ASX: SWM), which is impacting their advertising revenues and thus the performances of the underlying businesses.

On the other hand, it does provide a nice tailwind for Australian telecommunications businesses whose services are required to make the video streaming possible.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Netflix. Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Netflix. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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