* Says same U.S. catalog available in Latam
* Rivals in the region include Telmex's TV Online
By Cyntia Barrera Diaz
MEXICO CITY, Sept 12 U.S. online video rental
service Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) said it would take two years until
its Mexico operation, which it launched on Monday, can entice
enough clients to turn a profit.
"We are going to lose money for a while ... it will take a
lot of subscribers to get to profitability," Chief Executive
Reed Hastings said at a news conference.
Hastings declined to estimate how many clients the company
would acquire during its first year of operations in Mexico,
Latin America's second-largest economy.
He said the U.S. content catalog, except for a few
productions, would be available across the region.
As for broadband problems -- Mexican users on average run
at 2 MB, though much faster speeds of up to 50 MB are available
-- Hastings said if a Youtube video download is performed with
ease on a computer, then Netflix will work fine.
The company has close to 23 million subscribers in the
United States, of which nearly two-thirds stream videos.
Netflix, which is launching in 43 Latin American and
Caribbean countries, will face some competition in the region,
including Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's Telmex TV Online,
currently available in Colombia.
Slim's Telmex TELMEXL.MX TMX.N, whose bid to to offer
television services in Mexico was recently rejected by the
government because of competition concerns, has a strong
operation in other Latin American countries.
Colombia has been one of its fastest growing markets and
customers there, unlike in Mexico, can buy packages bundling
television, broadband and phone services.
Netflix, which will lose Starz Entertainment movies and
television shows in early 2012, will charge $8 for the monthly
subscription in Mexico. Hastings said the price should remain
low to make it attractive while the company builds a client
Local broadcasters TV Azteca TVAZTCACPO.MX and Televisa
(TLVACPO.MX) (TV.N) will make some of their soap opera and
series content available through Netflix in Mexico, he said.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)