Netflix will launch its streaming television service in Japan on Sept 2, the latest stop in its mission to be a global entertainment powerhouse, it said yesterday.
The company confirmed the launch date in an email, after a report in the news blog Venture Beat.
Netflix said in February it planned to launch this year in Japan, following rollouts in Australia and New Zealand in March.
Currently with some 65 million subscribers in over 50 countries, Netflix has set an ambitious goal to be in 200 markets by the end of 2016.
Netflix has promised a strong selection of Japanese television shows and films at launch, along with original content such asMarco Polo, Marvel’s Daredevil and acclaimed documentary Virunga.
Netflix planned to open a regional office in Tokyo to foster alliances with consumer electronics makers as well as creators of films and television shows.
Earlier this year, Netflix launched in Cuba, even though only a small percentage of the population there has high-speed Internet access.
Along with investing in supporting more languages and show libraries tailored to various markets, Netflix is making a priority of optimising its service on mobile devices since those are the main tools for accessing the Internet in emerging markets, according to the company.
AP reported that Netflix is giving new parents on its payroll up to a year of paid leave in a move that could pressure other technology employers to improve their baby benefits as they vie for talent.
The employee benefit announced yesterday on Netflix’s blog is generous even by the high standards of Silicon Valley, where free meals and other perquisites supplement lavish salaries in the fiercely competitive battle for computer programmers and other technology workers.
“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” Tawni Cranz, the company’s chief talent officer, wrote in the blog post.
“Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”
Google, which consistently ranks among the best places to work, offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Parents can also take seven to 12 weeks of paid “baby bonding” time during their child’s first year.
The US and Papua New Guinea are the only countries among 185 nations and territories that hadn’t imposed government-mandated laws requiring employers to pay mothers while on leave with their babies, according to a study released last year by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation.
Netflix’s baby-benefit policy covers all of the roughly 2,000 people working at its Internet video and DVD-by-mail services, according to the Los Gatos, California, company.
Netflix traditionally has long given its workers more leeway than most employers. For instance, the company already allows employees to take an unlimited amount of vacation each year, as long as they get their assignments done and fulfil other requirements of their jobs.