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24 February 2024

Netflix begins streaming into UAE at Dh1 a day

By Vicky Kapur

Netflix yesterday launched its service globally, simultaneously bringing its Internet TV network to more than 130 new countries, including the UAE where the service is now officially live.

The video-on-demand Internet streaming service was not available in the country until yesterday even as some users claimed to use it through using a VPN service, which is illegal as per the UAE’s Telecom Regulatory Authority guidelines.

Netflix made the announcement – and the service went live – during a keynote by co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings at the ongoing CES 2016 at Las Vegas.

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” said Hastings. “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,” he said.

While largely available in English in most new countries, Netflix added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

“From today onwards, we will listen and we will learn, gradually adding more languages, more content and more ways for people to engage with Netflix,” said Hastings. “We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”

Netflix is currently offering a free first month of service with the basic plan starting at $7.99 a month, which works out to less than Dh1 a day.

Simultaneously, LG Electronics announced that it had initiated a global partnership with Netflix to facilitate the expansion of the service’s global on-demand Internet streaming operations beyond the Internet TV network’s already established markets (the Americas, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan).

The South Korean LG said it has been chosen as a primary global business partner of Netflix, and that the two will combine efforts to provide prepaid access to the Netflix service.

It also noted that the move will bring an extensive library of high-quality content to more markets in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

“Our global partnership with LG will help entertainment lovers worldwide discover and enjoy Netflix,” said Scott Mirer, vice president of device partner ecosystem at Netflix. “We are excited to be the global business partner of the world’s most popular content provider Netflix,” said Brian Kwon, President and CEO at LG’s Home Entertainment Company.