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Since its launch in the UAE last year, people have welcomed Netflix into their everyday lives
Dubai - Egypt Today

When popular American video streaming service Netflix launched in the UAE last year, it completely transformed TV viewing habits in the country. The service is easy to use, and members can watch as much TV as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen for a monthly price of just over Dh30 per month (the first month is free). You can also play, pause and resume watching, uninterrupted without any ad breaks. The service has become an important part of pop culture, with phrases such as 'Netflix and chill' and 'Netflexting' becoming a part of daily conversations.
Leyla Guilany-Lyard, Netflix MENAT spokesperson, says, "Since Netflix launched in January last year, we have been really pleased by how popular the service has become and how people across the region have welcomed Netflix into their everyday lives. We've seen a steady growth in subscribers, which reflects the trend for people wanting to watch television on their own terms."
Recently, the company looked into the viewing behaviours of its users across the globe and saw some interesting patterns emerge.
She highlights, "As part of this research we looked into the characters and genres people choose to wake up too and found that they like to wake up and watch comedies such as Gilmore Girls, Fuller House and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, to start their day. We also spotted that the drama genre accounts for nearly half of people's viewing across the world between noon and 2pm, which wouldn't traditionally be the time for this kind of TV. Interestingly, we noticed some changes to viewing behaviours across the region during Ramadan. For example, we saw a peak in the region between 1am and 5am, where consumers were catching up on their favourite TV shows and movies after Iftar and during Suhoor."
This pattern seems to be remarkable as for years the audiences' lives had to fit around television, but thanks to the streaming service, now it's the other way around. Viewers now have the power to select their own schedule, meaning watching TV shows is no longer what it used to be.
According to Guilany-Lyard, globally people are streaming over 125 million hours of content each day. "Although individual country figures can't be shared, we can see through social media that our members in Middle East are engaged with a broad array of shows such as House of Cards, The Crown, Narcos and Orange Is The New Black, and documentaries like Making a Murderer and Chef's Table," she adds.
Focus on local content
Netflix is currently working on a Turkish series that will be launched next year. There will be 10 episodes, which will be written and produced in Turkey.
"We're thrilled to be producing our first Turkish original series and are very happy to be working with O3 Medya and Onur Guvenatam, as executive producer, on this project. We are confident that this new genre will be a milestone for the market and it will not only resonate with the Turkish audience but will also travel globally," says Guilany-Lyard.
The drama focuses on a young man who discovers that he has special powers. When dark forces that threaten to destroy Istanbul emerge, he must team up with a group of misfit friends to harness these powers to defend the city and all of mankind. The show will explore the rich cultural history of Istanbul and take the audience on a riveting journey into the heart of this magical city.
Netflix is currently working with experienced content creators with great stories to tell from all over the world. The company is already making series and films in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Spain, Japan, Italy, Mexico Germany and the U.K. among others, and are always on the lookout for new and compelling projects that would appeal to a global audience.
Spotlight on Interactive Storytelling
The company recently launched Interactive Storytelling, a feature that has been developed for content creators who have a desire to tell non-linear stories, and try out new formats.
"Kids' content was a natural place for us to start since children are eager to 'play' with their favourite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens," says Guilany-Lyard. "We launched the first 'branching' narrative titles with Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, which will be out on July 14."
With Interactive Storytelling, the viewer gets to decide where to take the story next, for example, 'Shall the bears be friends or foes?' appears on the viewing screen and the kids can decide where the story goes from there. Within each show, there are several story lines, and a number of endings based on this. This service is available globally in English.
Netflix Originals
Besides having a library of popular movie titles and TV shows, Netflix has carved a niche for itself by offering viewers fresh and engaging content through their own productions. It seems that every week everyone is talking about a popular Netflix original series or movie that you just have to binge-watch.
Guilany-Lyard points out that this year alone Netflix will launch over 1,000 hours of original content and have lots of exciting shows and movies coming up towards the end of 2017, including Death Note, Star Trek, The Crown season 2, Narcos season 3, Stranger Things season 2, MindHunter, and Bright, starring Will Smith and The Defenders from the Marvel universe.
This is also a milestone year for the company as it is celebrating its 20th anniversary. "We're very proud of the journey we are on bringing the best of entertainment to people across the globe. In 2016, we added more than 130 new markets to the service, meaning that Netflix has now become a truly global company in over 190 countries. Our approach to all these markets, including the Middle East has been to listen, learn and improve rapidly, adding more content, creating an even better Netflix experience over time to delight members," says Guilany-Lyard.
The company also aims to continually improve and develop the technology in order to make the service even better. This year they also introduced the Netflix Download function, making it even easier to watch while on the go.
She concludes by saying, "We are focused on increasing licensed content on a global basis, so that Netflix members everywhere in the world including the Middle East can enjoy their favourite movies and TV series on our streaming platform. We strive towards continuing to lead the way, by offering an amazing entertainment experience, personalised to customers viewing habits."

source: Khaleejtimes



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