In addition to its plans to launch an ad-supported version and charge subscribers for sharing their accounts, Netflix is redoubling its focus on what may be its greatest competitive strength: international originals.
Still by far the world’s largest streamer at 221 million subscribers, Netflix beat its own record by commissioning original TV series and movies from 28 separate markets in this year’s second quarter, according to a new report from Ampere Analysis.
Year-to-date, Netflix has commissioned new content from 44 territories. In comparison, Warner Bros Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery+ ordered content from 27 territories, Disney from 23 and Amazon from 21.
“At a time where Netflix is feeling the pinch of successive quarterly subscriber losses, a recommitment to an international strategy allows the company to exploit one area where it still possesses an inherent advantage over studio-backed rivals,” observed Fred Black, research manager at Ampere. “Disney+ or HBO Max may well make the next ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘The Witcher,’ but are yet to show themselves capable of the next ‘Money Heist’ or ‘Squid Game.’”
Netflix has also been ordering more U.S. content, but its international commissions have outnumbered its U.S.-commissioned content for seven consecutive quarters.
“It’s in the context of intense competition at home that Netflix’s refocus on international originals makes the most sense,” added Black. “Since the start of 2020, the streaming giant has commissioned 664 American first-run TV or movie originals. That’s still 50% more than the combined effort of Discovery+ and HBO Max, twice as many as Disney+ and Hulu could muster, and three times more than Amazon.
“However, internationally, Netflix commissioned 814 titles over the same period — 2.3 times as many as Amazon, 2.4 times as many as Warner Bros. Discovery, and three times as many as Disney’s suite of international streaming services. In fact, Netflix has commissioned more non-U.S. originals over the period than its key rivals combined.”
Opening up new markets for originals and doubling down on the content from its most successful markets "will be key to Netflix finding subscriber growth again,” Black concludes.