Streaming content provider Netflix announced on Monday, February 9th that it would begin offering its service in Cuba effective immediately. The statement from Netflix noted its streaming service will be available to Cuban customers beginning Monday at the $7.99 U.S. per month rate (same rate as in the U.S.).
New Cuban customers will have to set up an international payment method for the time being, but it’s gives the company a head start as the Cuban market starts to open up. Netflix said it wants its service to be available Internet access expands in Cuba, and debit and credit cards become more common.
Industry analysts note the streaming giant has been working hard on expanding its global footprint over the last few few years as subscriber growth in the U.S. has slowed down significantly. Netflix launched its service throughout Latin America back in 2011, and has more than five million subscribers as of year-end 2014.
Statement from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,” Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings commented in a statement on Monday. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”
Part of President Obama’s new push to open up Cuba
President Obama recently unveiled a plan to “open up” Cuba, which includes provisions aimed at allowing U.S. telecom firms to offer communication and internet services. This move by Netflix is designed to highlight it’s commit to Cuba and Latin America more generally, even if the introduction of streaming service is mainly symbolic right now. Analysts say Netflix’s decision is, however, a clear message of the kind of changes we can expect to see as the new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba evolves.