Netflix’s Global Ambitions Hit Rough Patch In Indonesia

Netflix’s Global Ambitions Hit Rough Patch In Indonesia
NFLX Photo by Matt Perreault

Netflix, the video streaming giant, expanded its services to 190 countries earlier this month, but on Wednesday, its services were blocked in Indonesia. State-owned Telkom Indonesia, which is the largest telecom company of the country, blocked the streaming firm’s services as it lacked a content provider permit and some of its content is violent and objectionable, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Blocked in Indonesia

Netflix’s international expansion plans were going as expected, but the issue it is facing in Indonesia could be a serious loss for the U.S. firm. Indonesia, with 256 million people, is the world’s fifth most populous country. In a statement to The WSJ, Netflix said it is “an Internet television network, not a traditional broadcaster.” It means that the rules for some of its TV counterparts may not be apply to it.

An Indonesian officer told The WSJ that Netflix should get itself registered as a foreign provider of Internet-based media and should censor content on its own. On the other hand, the U.S. firm pointed out that viewers can control what they watch with the help of a rating guide it provides and can also make use of parental controls.

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The official told the Journal that the Indonesian government will make a decision next month on whether it should fully block Netflix or not or create a new regulation to allow Netflix-like companies to continue operations. The official said that the U.S. firm will be allowed to continue for now despite the Telkom ban.

Bad day for Netflix

Another hit to the streaming video giant came closer to home. Entertainment business website The Wrap reported that Netflix, despite being the highest bidder ($20 million) for Birth of a Nation at the Sundance Film Festival, lost the worldwide rights to the film to Fox Searchlight, which bid $16 million.

Nate Parker is the writer and director of this slave rebellion drama, which is the most expensive film acquisition ever at Sundance, according to reports. Despite the loss, Netflix boosted its catalog at Sundance by acquiring the rights to other movies, including Fundamentals of Caring with Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

On Wednesday, Netflix shares closed down 6.83% at $91.15. Year to date, the stock is down by over 20%, while in the last year, it is up by almost 46%.

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