The number of markets covered by Netflix streaming services jumped from "more than 60" to "more than 190" in the blink of an eye. It isn't entirely universal yet -- Syria, North Korea, and Crimea were excluded to comply with U.S. government policies, and Netflix has not yet worked out a way to access the tempting Chinese market. Everywhere else is fair game.
In most markets, subscribers will be met by a limited catalog and an English user interface. But apart from the existing French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Italian, and Japanese localized versions, Netflix also added translations into Arabic, Korean, and Chinese to go along with the global launch.
Does it matter?
The move itself is no surprise. Netflix had promised to go worldwide since early 2015, after all. The goal was always to reach pretty much every market by the end of 2016.
But the instant explosion of Netflix services was certainly unexpected. It's only January, and apart from China, Netflix has already reached nearly every market that matters.
The launch catalog is likely to be fairly thin in Angola and Uzbekistan, made up of Netflix-owned originals, and third-party content under global licenses. The company will adjust on the fly, adding local content and more languages where it makes sense. "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 Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Keep a close eye at the progress in 130 new countries, because this coverage explosion is changing the game for Netflix investors. Shares rose as much as 6.6% on the news, and that's just the start of a long story.
In short, nobody saw this move coming in early January. Netflix is moving quicker than expected, and that's market-moving news.