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Netflix’s International Strategy – Global vs Local

netflix international strategy

Netflix’s astounding success and ubiquity is due to its dedicated, efficient, and effective international strategy.  At the time of writing, Netflix was available in over 190 countries. But how many territories will it cover this time next year?

Next week, we will be releasing an exclusive report about how Netflix Originals have travelled across the UKFIGS region. The report is based on our exclusive bank of  SVOD viewing data and reveals invaluable insight about Netflix’s international strategy.

How can we use what we know about their strategy to inform content-makers and challenger services?

Let’s look at how they approach global and localised content.

Global content

global strategy netflix international

Global content is an integral part of Netflix’s international strategy. Programmes and films that appeal to multiple territories allow the streaming giant to capture viewers in up to 190 countries with one production. When it works, this is an incredibly cost-effective strategy.

In the current environment, these global hits are dominated by US blockbuster films or series. That said, Netflix is starting to build a record of non-US and even non-English language titles that gain international popularity. The Platform and Money Heist are Spanish Netflix productions that have been very successful outside of their country of origin. They serve as examples of the rising trend in international but non-English language content on the platform.

But, how do you make or predict a global hit?

Well, if someone could define a sure-fire way to deduce that, then they would find themselves very rich. But while true answers lie out of our grasp, the more data that we collect the closer we can get to understanding the secret formula.

The key trend arising from our international data seems to be that Spanish-language content can gain international appeal.

Localised content

local content international netflix strategy

Arguably, localised content has been a more important part of Netflix’s international strategy than global content. Netflix has invested billions in  funding country-specific priginal content as well as acquiring programmes in a range of languages spanning all genres.

This is the content that situates Netflix in a new market. They aim to reflect a viewer’s culture, language and lived experience in their catalogue and draw new subscribers with intriguing programmes and locally known cast and crew members.

Localised Netflix Originals manage to situate a story in a setting familiar to the viewer, include vibrant and culturally unique characters and feature a theme or tone that speaks especially to the viewers of the country.

While this content doesn’t have the wide scope of potential international hits, it does give programme-makers the chance to market their content across the globe.

Local broadcasters and global challenger services can use our data to analyse the success of localised Netflix Originals. This would put them in the best position to establish strong VOD and SVOD services in the market.

Netflix’s promotional strategy

netflix international strategy netflix originals

The final cherry on Netflix’s cake of world domination comes in the form of their promotional strategy.

Their promotional system is undoubtedly based on the reams of viewing data that they have  analysed since the birth of their streaming platform.

This means that for a programme-maker to have a better chance of their content being promoted, they need to understand the parameters that Netflix use to prioritise content on a viewer’s homepage.

We look forward to sharing the results of our report about Netflix Originals in Europe to continue the discussion.

If you’d like to learn more about our SVOD viewing data then contact us here or directly email franca.licata@digital-i.com.

We’ve worked with some great companies

  • BBC
  • ITV
  • Channel 4
  • Channel 5
  • Dave
  • Sky
  • Virgin