Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) is winning the movie rental game by a mile. The company has pushed Blockbuster to death's door, resisted spirited attacks on its business model by Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , and many others, and is still growing rambunctiously here in America.
But that's not all. The next scene in Netflix history just started as the company opened up the first of many international markets for its streaming digital services. Canadians feel good about (aboot?) movies too, eh?
For $8 a month, Canadians can now stream movies and TV shows from the Netflix library to their hearts' content. PCs and Macs are obviously ready to handle the streams, and so are Blu-ray players from Toshiba and Samsung as well as two of the three leading gaming systems. The Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox is missing in action, but will join the Canadian hardware lineup later this year. So will connected TV sets from Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) store brand Insignia.
If you build it, they will come -- and Netflix has been building toward this moment for a long time. You can't launch a service like this overnight without laying the foundation first: In terms of technology, streaming was in the cards when Netflix first opened for business. A decade of Hollywood lobbying has created strong relationships with the studios, most of whom now have some sort of digital license agreement with Netflix.
The Canadian service won't contribute a whole lot to the company's results at first, but every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. This is that step across American borders and out in a big world full of media consumers. I'm excited to see how this plays out over the coming quarters and years, and to see where Netflix goes next. I'm thinking the U.K., then Down Under. Netflix isn't ready for multilingual service yet, and might as well cut its teeth on French Canadians first.
If you're excited about Netflix, too, you probably want to add the stock to My Watchlist so you can stay on top of all the news about it.