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Is Netflix Coming to Argentina?

May 8th, 2011 | Categoría: Economics, Entertainment

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The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Netflix, the U.S. film and TV Internet streaming company, is close to launching its service in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

FT’s report comes about a month after La Nacion published similar information. Meanwhile, La Nacion’s article came several months after Uberbin.net said in December that Netflix would likely be coming to the region this year. Finally, Seeking Alpha reported last week that Netflix plans to launch in South America.

I spoke with a Netflix spokesman last month and he declined to comment on the company’s plans. So far, Netflix has only operated in countries where the rule of law limits pirated downloads and the use of illegal video streaming sites such as those common in Latin America.

So-called “pirate” video services are extremely popular in Argentina. The online streaming service Cuevana is a perfect example. Cuevana, created by three college-aged Argentines, has become a tremendous success. Cuevana claims to have around 450,000 registered users.

Cuevana offers an exceptionally good service and it does so for free. Its questionable legality doesn’t seem to deter Argentines from using it and it’s legitimate to ask how Netflix could ever compete with such a free service.

But in the U.S., at least, Netflix offers something that Cuevana and other services do not. Netflix provides high quality HD streaming directly to your TV. If Netflix can offer such a service in Argentina, it will likely have a good chance of being a success.

However, for that to happen, Argentina’s comparatively slow bandwidth speeds will first have to improve dramatically. High quality streaming requires a fast Internet connection.

Happily, higher download speeds may be coming our way soon. Cablevisión has already confirmed that it plans to offer a super-fast Internet service in the first half of 2011. The company plans to launch the so-called DOCSIS 3.0 modem technology, giving customers download speeds that are around 10x faster than current rates.

That would let online addicts and heavy downloaders obtain speeds of up to 30 Megabits or even faster this year, easily enough to stream HD movies and TV shows directly to household TV sets, or to iPhones and iPads, etc.

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5 Comments

Dave JNo Gravatar says:

Nice thought but cable companies are getting ready to start charging for the bandwith usage to replace the old $30 a month charge that covered all costs. My wife watches Argentine TV all day long on her new LED TV with WiFi through some pirate company in Miami. I suspect she is using $100 of Dollars of bandwith per month.
If bandwith prices rise Netflix’s business model will go down in flames. And as far as Cablevisions claims to bandwith speed are concerned, beware, recent studies in Canada have shown that these claims are greatly exagerated and are area specific.

JULIANNo Gravatar says:

i’m a Cuevana fan and unless Netflix would offer HD movies or tv series, I don’t think is going to work in Argentina. Even offering HD streaming, as long as there’s a charge for the service I guess Cuevana will continue to take the whole market. As you say, Cuevana is for free and its service is just great. You only need to install the plugin and are able to see anything in a few seconds. Besides, I’m aware that Cuevana is expanding its borders and there are a lot of people using it in Latin America already!

AngelaNo Gravatar says:

I like Cuevana, too. And if you’re patient, just let it load and then rewind to watch with fewer interruptions. Though I do wish one of the providers here would match upload speeds with download speeds. And I wish Cablevision would come to San Telmo. We’re stuck with Speedy/Telefonica. The pits.

JULIANNo Gravatar says:

Angela, have you tried with Telecentro?

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

Angela, if you can, check out Iplan. Best ISP in argentina bar none. Yeah, is twice the price of Speedy, but works great. Coverage area is downtown, but San Telmo is not that far.
Disclaimer: I don’t work for Iplan. I just use it for my work on daily basis. I telecommute from here to US.

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