While the negotiations between the US and Cuba continue, much of the focus is on what this will mean for new travelers to the island nation. However, with the relaxation of trade laws comes new business opportunities for American companies in Cuba. One of the first companies to take advantage of the Obama administration’s softening stance on Cuba is Netflix.
An official Netflix press release puts forward the company’s plan to bring their streaming content (movies and TV) to the Cuban people. Due to censorship laws, it remains unclear exactly how much programming will become available at launch. For their part, Netflix has said it will consist of a “curated” collection of content similar to other Latin American countries – plus hit shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
This doesn’t mean everyone and their grandma are going to be revelling in the cut-throat politics of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood just yet. Only 5-15% of Cuban’s have internet access, and it’s not the fastest even when they do have it. In addition, the average monthly salary in Cuba is only about $20 (USD). Since Netflix costs $7.99 per month, it’s hard to imagine a majority of Cuban’s setting aside 40% of their monthly salary to stream movies and TV.
So while Netflix may not take the Cuban market by storm just yet, we shouldn’t underplay the importance of an American company expanding into Cuba. American airliners and credit card companies are looking to expand their operations into Cuba but Netflix is the first major US company to officially begin operating in the country. Plus, the Cuban regime is looking to expand internet access in the future meaning that Netflix and other American on line services will become more viable in Cuba. As Netflix expands its global reach, they’re also hoping to bring Cuban talent to a wider audience. Soon, we can look forward to the Cuban prison version of Orange is the New Black (just kidding).
Keep checking back for more on the ongoing Cuban Thaw.
Stay informed. Stay Current.