Operators of streaming services in the U.S. have presented a few ways they can cushion themselves from the impact of content shortages resulting from the ongoing strikes. Last week, we examined how companies could leverage reality formats that are largely unaffected by the strikes. Another is to look abroad for shows from other countries whose production is not affected by the current work stoppage in the U.S.
This approach benefits from the fact that American audiences have become more open to international content in recent years. Alongside the overall rise in demand for foreign language content, international hits like “Squid Game” have performed just as well as the most popular domestic content. And on an earnings call Monday, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish specifically noted the company’s international production capabilities.
An analysis of the catalogs of major services in the U.S. reveals two clear leaders in this game: Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video. Just over 60% of shows available on both Netflix and Prime Video were from markets outside of the U.S., including English-language content from markets like the U.K. This makes sense as these services have had the longest run as global services and have been busy making local content for audiences around the world. The global penetration of these two services makes them uniquely well positioned to turn non-U.S. content into truly global hits.
Across all services in the U.S., the supply of non-U.S.series outstrips the share of demand, according to Parrot Analytics‘ data, which takes into account consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement. Since this content is primarily designed to work well internationally, the fact that it also manages to drive a substantial share of demand on these services in the U.S. is a win.
Following the two leaders, Hulu and Peacock have the next largest shares of their catalog originating from markets outside the U.S., which may be surprising given the domestic focus of these streamers. Hulu’s large share of international titles is driven mainly by the anime titles it has built up on its animation hub.
For Peacock, shows from English-speaking markets make up the largest share of its international catalog. The U.K., Australia and New Zealand each accounted for a larger share of international titles on Peacock than Max, Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu.
We can get a better sense of the different international content strategies of these services by looking at which regions are fueling their audiences’ demand for international content.
A significant share of demand for Max’s non-U.S. content was for international series from other Anglophone countries. This may give the service an advantage if it looks to use its international series to fill any gaps left by disrupted American productions. Other English-language shows would have a lower barrier of entry for any viewers who may be averse to subtitles.
Hulu’s focus on building out its anime offering is apparent here; 74% of demand for international series on Hulu was for a show from Asia, the majority of which was driven by Japanese anime. The streamer has been positioning itself as the top destination for adult animation and anime with the launch of its Animayhem hub on the service.
Netflix stands out as having the largest share of demand for non-U.S. series from continental Europe. Notably, five different markets contributed a greater than 2% share of demand in this category. While other services might have particular strength in series from one country, the range of markets driving U.S. demand on Netflix for European content shows how the service can draw on series from multiple markets here.
Turkish content is beginning to break through with American audiences. Interestingly, Peacock is leading in this area with 3.1% of demand for international series on its service from a Turkish show. If we continue to see growing demand for these shows, Peacock could have a head start in a race to snap up rights.
There are many strategies U.S. streamers could take looking abroad for content to fill any gaps left by the ongoing strikes. We can already see a fair amount of difference in the countries these services are sourcing content from. What remains to be seen is whether domestic U.S. demand will grow in pace with the supply of international shows.
Christofer Hamilton is a senior insights analyst at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.