Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20, 2016--What's Playing in Somalia and On Reunion Island?

I love my Netflix.

I know there is current controversy about their ratings--the company is coy about them, which suggests they are not as high as advertised. The concern about the truth is not academic or about the truth itself but about Netflix's valuation--how much it is worth and how justifiable is its current lofty stock price.

I don't care about that except that I do have an investor's interest in the so-called FANG stocks. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. I do not at this point in my life believe in owning that many shares of individual companies, preferring broad-based securities funds, but I do own a decent amount of Amazon stock, am thinking about buying more, and am considering making an equivalent investment in Netflix.

After all, boldly last week, the CEO of Netflix announced that they are making their streaming service available in 190 large and small countries from China to Somalia.

And just yesterday Netflix announced that they are signing up surprising numbers of subscribers in many out-of-the-way places.

Now people from Madagascar to Reunion Island can catch Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

"They must have pretty good Internet connections," CEO Reed Hastings joked the other day when he learned that the Reunion Island folks were among the first to subscribe.

Now Netflix is scrambling to dub their shows in dozens of languages to keep up with the already burgeoning demand.

I remember back in the day, when nation-buidling still seemed to some like a good idea, that the thought was that if we could help bring versions of Western democracy to underdeveloped places such as Iraq, Syria, and Libya young people especially would clamor for MTV and once they could tune in all would be well in the world.

We see now what that culturally imperialist and naive strategy has yielded. Among other things--ISIS.

Now here comes Netflix.

To some in Yemen, seeing the evil Kevin Spacey character, fictional U.S. president Francis Underwood ensconced in the White House, will feel that what they believe to be true about our actual president is in fact true.

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