Insights

The Global Appeal of Netflix Originals

7 July, 2020

Netflix recently announced that it has seen an uptick in international viewing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. While the globalization of content has been a trend for a while, the conditions brought on by Covid-19 have accelerated this. Audiences kept inside and with time on their hands are expanding their viewing habits to include international shows.

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While Netflix called out shows like Unorthodox, Money Heist, and Summertime specifically as seeing increased international viewing, one show that has surpassed all of these in terms of global travelability (ie. International vs. home market demand) is The Letter for the King. This show premiered on March 20, so took place during the peak of Covid-19 lockdowns in many countries. It has found fans around the world.

As can be seen above, the top six markets with the highest demand for this series span four continents. Moreover the patterns of demand differ across markets. While the US and the Netherlands saw dramatic spikes and rapid declines, demand in markets such as India and Russia has held up better over time.

This series not only exemplifies the globalization of content consumption, it shows that production is increasingly an international undertaking. The English language series is based on a beloved Dutch novel and was filmed in New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

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Netflix highlighted Unorthodox as a show which has seen increased international viewership. This series is the first Netflix original to be primarily in Yiddish and is about a woman running away from New York to live in Berlin so will naturally appeal to audiences in multiple markets.

Above are the markets with the highest demand for this series since its premiere on March 26. While production of the series was split between the US and Germany, the market with the highest demand per capita for this show is Greece. Spain is the country with the 4th highest demand for this series and has seen a late surge in interest for it. Between June 21 and June 30, demand for Unorthodox was up 545% in Spain.

Netflix has helped create today’s borderless world of content by making its originals available to subscribers in all markets. Below are the Netflix originals with the highest travelability. These series have resonated with audiences around the world well beyond their home market.

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Nine of the ten Netflix originals with the highest travelability are from the United States or United Kingdom. These markets have a history of creating content that exports around the world well. It is perhaps more surprising that the Netflix original with the 5th highest travelability is a Danish series. The Rain is a post-apocalyptic thriller with the premise that a virus nearly wipes out humanity. Undoubtedly it is resonating with audiences around the world given the current situation.


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