Netflix CFO to viewers in new markets: be prepared for the worst

Maybe first impressions don’t matter that much, after all: Netflix often underwhelms when it enters a new market, but wins consumers over by getting better in the following months, said the company’s CFO David Wells during an appearance at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. “Day one, it is the worst content offering we’ll ever have,” he joked.

Wells said some at Netflix believed the company would have to knock it out of the park on day one in terms of content line-ups, but quickly learned that a lean launch, combined with a commitment to grow the library over time, often does the trick.

Wells also argued that [company]Netflix[/company] was bound to disappoint when it enters new markets, where consumers often expect the service to be like Spotify, offering access to virtually everything for one low monthly fee. “You are not gonna get that,” quipped Wells. But many of these consumers would give Netflix another chance a few months later, and compare it to other online services, or even their local TV networks. In other words: When reality sets in, Netflix actually doesn’t look that bad.

That’s important because Netflix has very ambitious international expansion plans over the next two years: The company is going to launch in Australia and New Zealand this month, and has also announced that it wants to launch in Japan later this year. Wells said Wednesday that we will see additional, not-yet-announced international expansions this year as well. In two years, Netflix aims to be available all over the world.