Netflix revealed Monday that it immediately would begin streaming films and television shows to Cuban customers, the first time the company has allowed service in the communist island country.
The company tweeted an announcement of the rollout – shown below – and said that anyone in Cuba with internet access and an international payment method, aka a credit card, could start streaming videos on Monday.
Bienvenida Cuba! Netflix is now available pic.twitter.com/rMocX4Bk73hyphen; Netflix US (@netflix) February 9, 2015
Only thing is, few Cubans have internet access and an internationally valid credit card. Watchdog group Freedom House reported that only about 5 per cent of Cubans have unlimited access to the internet.
Currently no credit cards linked to a US bank are accepted in Cuba, so it’s unclear how many Cubans would be able to pay for the streaming service, which starts are $7.99. As Cuban relations with the US warm, expect more Cubans to subscribe to the service. US credit card use is expected to be among the changes proposed soon by the US.
Netflix has said that it will offer its original programming, like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, as well as a curated selection of other movies and television shows. The company said its selection will be comparable to the catalogue in other Latin American countries.
“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,“ Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, said in a statement. ”Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”
The Cuban expansion is part of Netflix’s effort to spread across the globe. Streaming service is expected to come soon to Japan, according to The Verge, and the company expects its worldwide rollout to be complete in the next two years.
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