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Netflix bets on the future and launches service in Cuba

They won't find a huge market—yet.


Allen Weiner


Posted on Feb 9, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 2:14 pm CDT

Cuba has become the latest country to offer Netflix as part of the streaming network’s push toward building a global entertainment property.

The service will cost $7.99 for Cubans who have Internet access and an international form of payment. Payment options could be limited to valid credit or debit cards; Netflix, at this point, does not accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

Netflix’s Cuban offering may be more about symbolism than a perceived boon to business. According to Internet Live Stats, only 27.45% of Cuba’s 11.3 million citizens have Internet access, and no one knows how many of those people have the high-speed connections required to stream services like Netflix.

Cubans who have Internet access and a credit card still may face issues with government censorship. According to Freedom House, an international watchdog group, Cuba is the only country in the Americas that consistently appears on its worst-of-the-worst list regarding Internet freedom.

Cuba’s infrastructure stands to benefit as the United States and Cuba attempt to normalize relations, with outside tech-company investment leading to a more rapid deployment of high-speed Internet access. For Netflix, it’s a no-lose proposition, allowing them to develop an entrenched position in Cuba as the country inevitably becomes more Internet-friendly.

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2015, 6:01 pm CST