Netflix will be officially arriving in the Middle East in 2016. Our sister site IGN Middle East broke that story a few weeks back. Today, we got a chance to chat with Joris Evers, Vice President, Head of EMEA Communications, who was in Dubai recently to meet with the media and get a better understanding of how people in the Middle East perceive Netflix.
Lets start with the obvious – when will Netflix be launching in the Middle East? Sadly, we don’t have a confirmed date yet. Evers reiterated that it will be in 2016 but did not elaborate if it will be in the first half or the second half of the year. When launched, Netflix will be available across all popular devices such as the Apple TV, PlayStation 4, as well as smartphones and tablets. Pricing is also something we’ll find out about closer to the launch but here’s a table of how much it costs in the US:
As for the kind of content that will be available, Evers wants to set a realistic expectation of what users can expect from Netflix Middle East’s offering. Content licensing and other hurdles will limit what will be available in the region (and it will definitely be less than what is available in the USA). Evers gave an example of How to Get Away with Murder – the latest season of which is licensed with another provider in the region but previous seasons will be available on Netflix.
Netflix’s primary focus will be to bring all of its original shows to the Middle East. This means that shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, House of Cards and Master of None will be available at launch. Evers also said that the company will license some Arabic content but the offering will be limited and not as wide as what’s already available on regular TV channels.
Finally, if you’re wondering whether your US or UK Netflix account will work in the Middle East, yes it will. But like every other region Netflix is officially present in, your login will only allow you access to shows restricted to that region. So don’t cancel your VPN subscription just yet.
By Abbas Jaffar Ali
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