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Analysis: Netflix Continues to Lap the Field in International Content Creation

Matt Tamanini

As domestic subscriber growth has essentially ended for most premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming services, many companies have begun focusing outside the U.S. borders in hopes of tapping into customer bases that have not yet hit their saturation point. Not only are streamers launching in countries and territories around the world, but they are also investing in international content as a way to bulk up their offerings in these new and expanding markets.

As it has in nearly every non-advertising innovation since the advent of streaming, Netflix has been ahead of the curve on international content for quite some time and continues to remain so. As Media Play News' Erik Gruenwedel reports, a recent study from research firm Ampere Analysis reveals that in the second quarter of 2022, the streaming giant ordered series and movies from 28 international markets to bring its total to 44 since 2020.

Despite halting development in a large part of Europe the week after Q2 ended, Warner Bros. Discovery commissioned projects from 27 markets in the quarter while Disney ordered from 23 and Prime Video from 21.

According to Ampere, Netflix commissioned 97 international titles during Q2 compared to just 63 from inside the U.S. The discrepancy — 34 — was the largest since 2019 other than in Q4 2021 — which was one title more at 35. Netflix’s international output has exceeded its domestic content slate every quarter since Q4 2020, although the disparity was only a single project in Q1 2021.

“It’s in the context of intense competition at home that Netflix’s refocus on international originals makes the most sense,” Ampere analyst Fred Black said according to Media Play News. Gruenwedel notes that Black’s report indicates that since Q1 2020, Netflix has commissioned 664 domestic titles, 50% more than discovery+ and HBO Max combined, twice as many as Disney’s non-sports streamers Hulu and Disney+ have, and three times more than Prime Video.

While those numbers represent a substantial difference between Netflix and its competitors, the totals are even starker when you look abroad.

“Netflix has commissioned more non-U.S. originals over the period than its key rivals combined,” Black said. “Opening up new markets for originals and doubling down on the content from its most successful will be key to Netflix finding subscriber growth again.”

The world’s largest streamer — assuming you don't include all of Disney's duplicate customers — totaled 814 foreign films and series since 2020, three times more than Disney’s international offerings, 2.4 times that of the now combined Warner Bros. Discovery, and 2.3 times more than Amazon.

The move to international markets makes perfect sense given the maturity of streaming domestically. With Netflix’s inherent headstart, it is looking to reach as many homes abroad as possible before other countries reach the same saturation point that the United States and Canada already have.

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