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Netflix Goes to Canada

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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.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Best Buy, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Apple, Best Buy, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Best Buy, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (8)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 2:23 PM, BioBat wrote:

    I think the trick is going to be getting the word out and getting it out to everyone. The message is getting around the press but I'm not sure it's reaching the masses in Canada yet. Case in point: My sister and brother in law were visiting from Canada just a week and a half ago and they'd never heard of Netflix. But once I turned it on and started calling up movies, they were hooked and wanting to know when it was going to be available in Canada so they could sign up. Cost wasn't even an issue.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 4:23 PM, ByrneShill wrote:

    The problem is that most ISP in canada have bandwidth limits. Most have a limit of around 25-30GB per month. Since netflix uses 1-2GB per hour (depending if you watch high or low definition), and then the charge is about 5$ per GB. In the end that's gonna be awfully expensive to watch "unlimited" movies for canadians.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 10:12 PM, JudasTouch wrote:

    "Netflix isn't ready for multilingual service yet, and might as well cut its teeth on French Canadians first."

    The U.S. has a large and growing Spanish-speaking population. No reason that teeth-cutting couldn't happen right here at home.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2010, at 10:08 AM, ismality wrote:

    Don't count on Netflix in Australia until they improve their international network infrastructure. I'm Canadian, but living in Australia. I had an unlimited internet plan while in Canada for $45/month. Unfortunately, that option doesn't exist down under. Going over monthly caps can be expensive (or you get slowed to dial-up speeds til the end of the month).

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