Mexico City - Netflix Inc. is establishing its Latin American headquarters in Mexico City and staffing up in the office, a sign of the streaming service's growing ambitions in the region.
Netflix will consolidate executives who work on programming, marketing and publicity across Latin America in the Mexico City office, the company said Friday, boosting its staff in an office opened just last year. Sao Paulo, which has served as a Latin American hub for Netflix, will remain a regional office.
Latin America is a growing priority for Netflix as the streaming service looks outside the U.S. for new customers. The company's customer base in the region reached 31.4 million at the end of 2019, more than doubling in the past three years.
Netflix first expanded to Latin America in 2011 and struggled for many years. Most customers didn't have personal credit cards, nor did most countries have strong internet infrastructure. But the popularity of the service has exploded in recent years, thanks in part to a growing slate of Spanish and Portuguese original series.
"Consumers across the region have embraced Netflix," the company said in a statement. "With Mexico City as our base, we'll be even closer to the creative community as well as members all across the region as we continue to invest in best-in-class content that is loved in Latin America and all over the world."
International markets accounted for about 90% of Netflix's growth in 2019. It added just 2.6 million customers in its home country last year, its worst performance since it split its streaming service from its DVD-by-mail business almost a decade ago.
This explosion outside the U.S. has caused Netflix to rethink its hiring. Netflix has previously run a lot of its decision making out of Los Gatos, California, and Los Angeles, its two biggest offices. But the company's leadership has increasingly decided it must staff up in foreign markets if it is going to produce shows for those countries and develop relationships with local businesses. Netflix also has opened offices in London, Paris, Singapore, Amsterdam and Tokyo, as well as a production stage in Spain.
Netflix had previously said it would be producing 50 new TV and film projects and co-productions in Mexico over 2019 and 2020. Now, the company has pledged to invest $200 million in Mexican productions in 2020, adding to a slate that includes La Casa de Las Flores and Diablero.
The move to Mexico City will displace dozens of Netflix employees at a minimum. The company employs many publicists, marketers and programming executives who specialize in Latin America in Los Angeles, as well as other offices. They will now either have to move to Mexico City or find new work.