Roku eyes Germany, Spain, but where will Netflix go?


Roku may be in the progress of bringing its popular media player to continental Europe, if snippets found in the code of its website are any indicator: The HTML code of currently countains hints of an upcoming presence in Germany and Spain. What does this mean for Netflix, (s NFLX) which has traditionally been the most popular service on Roku?

Asked about its plans for continental Europe, a Roku spokesperson simply told me this morning that the company hasn’t made any announcements about further international expansion. But that didn’t stop the company’s web developers from adding Germany and Spain to the site’s source code:

Roku started out only serving customers in the U.S., but the company expanded to the U.K. and Ireland in January, and to Canada in April. In both cases, it went to market only after Netflix had launched a local service. The U.K. and Ireland launch actually happened two days after the video subscription service opened its doors in these countries.

And Roku has emphasized in the past how important Netflix is to its business, even blaming its own lower-than-expected sales last year on Netflix’s stumbles. In other words, it would make sense for Roku to tie its further international expansion to Netflix.

The video service, on the other hand, put its international ambitions on ice last year in the wake of its domestic struggles. But as things are picking up in the U.S. again, Netflix is now looking to further expand internationally. A spokesperson told me today via email that Netflix will expand to another international market in Q4 of this year, but that further details haven’t been announced yet.

That announcement could be made as early as later this month, when Netflix will share its Q2 earnings. The company initially forecasted a seasonally weak second quarter, but a recent streaming record may point towards better-than-expected results.

Where will Netflix go next? It’s definitely testing subtitles in many different languages.

Netflix has in the past been gone to great lengths to obfuscate its international expansion plans. A job offer posted last year looked for translators in a dozen languages, including German and Spanish, but also Hindi, Turkish and Russian. And in recent weeks, subtitles in languages like Chinese, French, German and Zapotec have popped up on the site.

Of course, it’s also possible that Roku could tie its further international plans to other partners, like Amazon’s (s AMZN) Lovefilm or even Hulu to make itself less dependent on Netflix. Late last year, rumors intensified that Hulu is looking to launch in Germany.



It’s up to NetFlix. OZ is going to have to be limited to Roku Private Channels until, one of the big players like Amazon or NetFlix can provide content in OZ.

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