With domestic subscriber growth essentially over for most premium subscription streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services, many companies have begun to focus outside US borders in hopes of taking advantage of customer bases that have not yet reached their saturation point. Streamers are not only launching in countries and territories around the world, they are also investing in international content as a way to increase their offerings in these new and expanding markets.
As it has for almost every non-advertising innovation since the advent of streaming, Netflix has been at the forefront of international content for quite some time and continues to be. As Erik Gruenwedel of Media Play News reports, a recent study by 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 across much of Europe the week after the second quarter ended, Warner Bros. Discovery ordered projects from 27 markets in the quarter, while Disney ordered from 23 and Prime Video from 21.
According to Ampere, Netflix ordered 97 international titles during the second quarter compared to just 63 within the US. The discrepancy, 34, was the largest since 2019, apart from the fourth quarter of 2021, which was one more title with 35. Netflix’s international production has surpassed its domestic production. content list every quarter since Q4 2020, although Disparity was only one 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,” said Ampere analyst Fred Black, according to Media Play News. Gruenwedel notes that Black’s report indicates that since the first quarter of 2020, Netflix has ordered 664 domestic titles, 50% more than Discovery+ and HBO Max combined, twice as many as non-sports streamers from Disney, Hulu and Disney+, 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 watching abroad.
“Netflix has commissioned more originals outside of the US over the period than its main rivals combined,” Black said. “Opening up new markets for originals and doubling down on content from its most successful version 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 movies and series since 2020, three times more than Disney’s international offerings, 2.4 times more than the now combined Warner Bros. Discovery and 2.3 times more than Amazon.
The move to international markets makes a lot of sense given the maturity of broadcasting domestically. With Netflix’s inherent advantage, it seeks to reach as many overseas households as possible before other countries reach the same saturation point that the United States and Canada already have.