Joris Evers, Vice President & Head of Communications for Europe, Middle East and Africa, was present in Bucharest on Thursday, at the fifth edition of the Interactive Central and Eastern Europe Festival (ICEEfest). He stated that the Romanian premieres of the films, television series and documentaries that Netflix will launch in the following period will coincide with their premieres on the other markets and that Netflix will have Romanian subtitles for most productions by the end of this year.
“This is the first time we are in Bucharest. First of all, I wanted to offer some information about how we evolved. About how Netflix managed to reinvent itself several times. (…) On January 6, Netflix has expanded to another 130 countries. This means we have become available in those countries, not that we actually launched there. (…) We believe there is room for development on the Romanian market,” Evers stated in Bucharest.
“The reason why we accepted to come here is to learn more about this country. We want to become as relevant as possible at local level,” the Vice President of Netflix Europe added.
“From our point of view, a long journey started in January. There was a little bit of disappointment at first because there are no Romanian subtitles, we are aware of this problem,” Evers told the Romanian audience.
The Vice President stated that Netflix has over 81 million subscribers at global level. Most of them are from the U.S., and 36 million of them are international subscribers.
“Our plan is to become more focused on the international. We hope 80 percent of Netflix subscribers will be from outside the U.S.,” Evers stated, adding that those who subscribed had the first month free and over 50 percent of them continued their subscription after that month expired.
Evers also stated that the Romanian market “is small at this moment,” but that “it took us 9 years to reach a penetration rate of 50 percent in the U.S., it took us 7 years to obtain a penetration rate of 30 percent in the U.S. – we hope that 1 in 3 Romanians will have Netflix by 2023.”
Asked whether Netflix will start to promote itself at local level, Evers answered affirmatively.
“We have advertisements today too, but smaller, targeted on English-speaking people,” Evers pointed out, adding that Netflix will probably not hire.
“We still have a lot of things to do in order to be relevant. Including here, in Romania,” Evers concluded.
Concerning Netflix’s history, he stated in Bucharest that online streaming started in 2007 and he always dreamed that streaming will be the future and the “DVD phase” would be only temporary. Evers said that, on average, Netflix subscribers finish a television series season in one week, while on traditional television they get to see one episode per week and that classical television is like a utility “but people like to watch different things,” Netflix having “specific productions for everyone.”
“People are resorting to torrents because they don’t have access to the productions they want to see. Our mission is to bring to the world stories from everywhere,” the Netflix Vice President added, revealing in Bucharest that the company has a budget of USD 6 bln for TV shows this year, compared to USD 3 bln last year.
“When we announced on January 6 that we will be available in 130 countries, we were told we gave birth to a new social network,” Evers said.
ICEEfest is an international event dedicated to the digital world, an event founded by Dragos Stanca.
“It is the largest edition so far and, after 5 years, I believe we can say that the festival has reached maturity. It can easily stay in line with similar events in Dublin, Lisbon and Berlin. The audience’s and business community’s support is extremely important, and this is why I personally thank all those who supported us by buying a ticket,” festival founder Dragos Stanca stated.
ICEEfest 2016 will last through Thursday and Friday, in Bucharest. The event brings 130+ people on the festival’s stage (over 100 speakers, artists and guests), 55 know-how hours spread over the 2 days and 6 hours of entertainment.