LOS ANGELES: Netflix is putting boots on the ground in ever greater numbers and setting up offices and production hubs worldwide.
With a splashy regional HQ being prepped in Amsterdam and a Paris office about to launch, as well as new outposts that opened this year in Sydney and Berlin and production facilities in countries including Canada and Spain, the streamer's global presence is becoming as much physical as digital.
The mother ship remains in Los Gatos, California. But Netflix now has a base in Singapore for the Asia Pacific region, where it employs more than 400 staff. The new office in Amsterdam, serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is just a couple of miles from the company's current digs but will have twice the capacity – room for up to 800 people. For Netflix, thinking globally means acting locally in terms of content and decision-making. The equation is a simple one: The more international offices and studios it opens, the more international stories it can tell, the more international storytellers it can work with and the more international its service becomes.
It's clear that international is where the big opportunities for growth lie. In its latest quarterly results, Netflix reported adding 500,000 subscribers in the US during the three months to the end of September. By contrast, 6.8 million international customers signed up during that period – more than a dozen-fold better. The streaming giant now has 158.3 million paying subscribers worldwide, about 62% of whom live outside the US.
"It turns out that not all interesting stories come from Hollywood," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings quipped at the Madrid facility's official opening in April. "It all follows what people want to watch."
But competition in the streaming space is heating up. Disney Plus and HBO Max have both set out international launch plans. Broadcasters such as the BBC are beefing up their own streaming offerings. Ad-supported services including Viacom's Pluto TV and Spain's Rakuten TV are expanding or rolling out.
Against that backdrop, Netflix is trying to stay one step ahead in the global game. It now has offices on five of the seven continents. Could an Africa outpost be in the offing? Antarctica? Next episode in 5, 4, 3 ...
UK Studio: Shepperton, Surrey, 14 soundstages; Office: London, Fitzrovia district, about 20,000 square feet
Germany Office: Berlin (opened October)
Netherlands Office: EMEA HQ moving Amsterdam neighbourhoods to Karperstraat from Stadhouderskade at the beginning of 2020, with room for up to 800 people
Spain Studio: Production hub in Madrid, opened April; three soundstages totaling 70,000 square feet. Second stage of construction has begun, which will enlarge the site to a total of 153,000 square feet; Office: Madrid, scheduled to open later this year
France Office: Plans to open in Paris later this year
Italy Office: Plans to open next year
Japan Office: Tokyo (opened 2015)
Singapore Office: Singapore (opened 2016) – Asia regional hub
India Office: Mumbai (opened 2017). New office coming next year in the Bandra Kurla Complex, 150,000 square feet
South Korea Office: Seoul (opened 2018)
Australia Office: Sydney (opened 2019)
US Studios: Los Angeles Sunset Bronson Studio Lot; studio planned in Brooklyn, with six soundstages, about 161,000 square feet; Albuquerque, N.M. – eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, plus a large back lot; Offices: Los Gatos, Calif. (HQ), more than 2,000 employees, 300,000 square feet; New York, about 100,000 square feet in Manhattan; Albuquerque, N.M.; Salt Lake City; Washington, D.C.
Canada Studios: Cinespace Studios, Toronto: Four soundstages, along with office space – about 164,000 square feet; Pinewood Toronto Studios: Four soundstages and adjacent office space – about 84,580 square feet; Martini Film Studios, British Columbia
Brazil Office: Alphaville, Sao Paolo
Mexico Office: Mexico City
*More than 400 staff in Asia Pacific region – Variety/Reuters
(Sources: Netflix, Variety, New York Governor's office)