After launching in Canada in September, Netflix has now announced that it has hit the million member mark in that country. Well, they’re just now announcing it anyway. It actually occurred in July, but still, that’s ten months.
Netflix says this exceeded its own expectations for growth, but it seems a little low to me. Of course, they haven’t offered the DVD-by-mail option in that country – the backbone of what the was founded upon to begin with – the thing that attracted so many people to the service in the first place, here in the U.S. The thing that is available as a separate plan (from streaming) now. It also launched in Canada with an even smaller catalog of streaming titles.
It also launched with a pair of PR blunders. First some of the extras the company had hired for a video gave interviews to the press, who thought they were actual customers. Netflix apologized for this. Steve Swasey, VP of corporate communications wrote:
I want to address an event held by Netflix in downtown Toronto yesterday as part of our launch of Netflix in Canada. The launch included the shooting of a corporate video with some hired extras, who, it turns out, were given improper direction to talk with the news media about their enthusiasm for the Netflix service. This was a mistake and was not intended to be part of our launch plan. Simply put: we blew it. We didn’t intend to mislead the media or the public, and we can understand why some have raised questions. We’re sorry that our misfire has given Canadians any reasons to doubt our authenticity or our sincerity.
Then, CEO Reed Hastings made some comments that didn’t sit too well with some people. He later apologized:
My Big American Foot is in my mouth. Yesterday, I made an awkward joke with a reporter in Toronto about Americans (like me) being self-absorbed relative to Netflix pricing in Canada. I was wrong to have made the joke, and I do not believe that one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world (America) is self-absorbed or full of self-absorbed people.
“We’re thrilled that Canadians have embraced Netflix so rapidly, and we’re equally proud to have welcomed one million members in such a short period,” said Hastings now says. “Our focus remains on building up the breadth and range of movies and TV shows to watch instantly, as well as constantly improving the experience, and we look forward to welcoming many more new members.”
Congrats to Amanda Bell James of Flin Flon, Manitoba, for being our one-millionth Netflix member in Canada! Thank you to all our fans!
“I’m excited to be the millionth Canadian member,” said Amanda Bell James. “Netflix is something I enjoy with my family and I look forward to continue watching our favorite movies and TV shows via Netflix in the future.”
Netflix has 25 million members in the US and Canada combined. The company hit its first million in the U.S. in 2003.
A month ago, Netflix announced that later this year it will be launching in 43 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.