It's Official: Netflix Goes Live in Israel

After reports of imminent arrival, world's largest provider of streaming video now available in 130 countries, including Israel, India and Russia.

FILE PHOTO: Netflix
Bloomberg

Video streaming service Netflix Inc., which is available in 130 countries, has gone live in Israel, too, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced yesterday, ending months of speculation

However, at this stage, the streaming service will be available only in English (and Arabic), and there is no subtitled content.

The company conducted market studies in Israel leading up to its global expansion, to examine if Israelis would pay for the entertainment content service. Company representatives also refused to sell Netflix productions’ broadcasting rights to local players HOT and Yes, so as not to undermine the platform’s success in Israel.

Netflix also considered a more expansive presence in Israel that would include local offices and content translation. One of the candidates to run such a branch was Yona Wiesenthal, the former vice president of content at Yes, but Netflix eventually decided to offer their service in Israel without a physical presence here. 

The company’s services are expected to present a significant threat to local players that offer similar products, including HOT, Yes and recently Cellcom. The threat may remain minimal. however, as long as Hebrew is not supported by the platform.

Netflix in Israel includes most, but not all original productions. The popular “House of Cards” series, for example, is not offered in the service, most likely because the broadcasting rights to the show have already been sold to other sources.

The company is offering one free month and three subscriber packages, the cheapest at $7.99 a month (without HD), the priciest at $11.99 (allows four movies on four screens at once).