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Netflix Capitalizes on Foreign-Language Dramas, Plans to Keep All-at-Once Release Model

Fern Siegel

Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix’s vice president of international originals, sees a booming market for non-English speaking dramas. At an industry summit in London, she noted: “Hollywood is not the be-all and end-all of storytelling.”

In fact, Netflix reports 50% of subscribers watched a foreign-language show – up from 30% a couple of years ago, proving fertile ground for expansion.

Luegenbiehl cited Germany’s “Dark” and Denmark’s “The Rain” as the streamer’s successful forays into this category. The company is also looking for a foreign interactive version of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”

“It opens up a world of unscripted doc series, sketch comedy, stand-up, kids,” she said, adding original shows from South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are part of Netflix’s future offerings.

The executive was also asked about streaming competition at the event. Though rivals Apple TV+ and Disney+ are using a traditional weekly release model, Netflix has no plans to change its binge-viewing status.

“I think for us what we are doing is working,” she said. The only reason to alter a successful model is “if people stop watching our shows. The real danger is going to be if we get complacent and stop taking risks.”

Also, viewers have no worries about future ads popping up in favorite shows. Netflix has no plans to add advertising, preferring its SVOD model, Luegenbiehl said.

Dark Season 2 Trailer