Sources: Netflix Talking With Shops About Overseas Expansion

Online video and DVD distributor Netflix is talking with several advertising and media agencies about potential international assignments, according to sources.

Currently, Netflix provides service in the U.S. and Canada. But the company is poised for overseas expansion, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who recently told The Hollywood Reporter that Europe, Latin America and Asia are markets the company would consider entering as soon as the recently launched Canadian operation gets its bearings.

Back in 2004, the company had planned to start service in the U.K., but the effort was aborted, because the company felt then it needed to devote full energies to the U.S. business.

It was not clear which agencies the company had reached out to, but several sources confirmed that talks are ongoing. One source close to the company called the discussions “exploratory conversations,” and stressed that despite rumors to the contrary, assignments in the U.S. are not currently under review.

That could change of course, depending on how the company’s expansion plans evolve and what ideas are hatched during the ongoing agency discussions. WPP’s MediaCom handles U.S. media agency chores, while Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is responsible for creative.

MediaCom has had a tough year, capped by the recent defection of longtime pharma client GSK, which shifted its $700 million U.S. media assignment to Omnicom’s PHD last week. Earlier this month, longtime client Hasbro went into review. That said, Netflix appears pleased with MediaCom’s work, per sources.

Netflix has commanded headlines recently as pundits debate its future. Some see it as a potential threat to services like Hulu, as it begins to offer on-demand TV content like Saturday Night Live within a day of its original airing.

Others question its long-term viability as competitors like Amazon, Apple and a number of big-name retailers enter the online video distribution area. Sears, in partnership with Sonic, just announced a new offering today.