Netflix on Monday launched its streaming service in Cuba, the latest sign that economic relations between the United States and the island nation are thawing.
The service will be available for $8 a month to residents with credit cards and access to high-speed Internet. The library of content will include titles such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” amid other original and licensed programs and movies.
With just five percent of the Cuban population with access to fixed broadband, according to the World Bank, the offering won’t significantly bolster Netflix’s profits. But symbolically, Netflix’s early move into Cuba shows its commitment to expand globally, even in countries with poor infrastructure and other obstacles.
Netflix is amid a massive global expansion, racing against Amazon, cable providers, and Google for global audiences as its U.S. subscriber growth slows. In its fourth quarter, Netflix added 4.33 million subscribers to 57.4 million total customers in the 50 countries where it operates. Recently, the company announced plans to issue a $1 billion bond that it will use to fund the purchase and creation of more shows and costs related to global expansion.
“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”