Which platforms can lean on international content to weather the strikes?

5 August, 2023

Streaming platforms in the US have a few options when considering ways they can cushion themselves from the impact of any content shortages due to the ongoing strikes. One way, which we considered last week, is to leverage certain show formats like reality that are unimpacted. Another is to look abroad for shows from other countries whose production is not affected by the current work stoppage in the US.

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.  

An analysis of the catalogs of major platforms in the US reveals two clear leaders when it comes to the amount of international series available to their US users to stream. Just over 60% of shows available on both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were from markets outside of the US (including English language content from markets like the UK). This makes sense as these platforms have had the longest run as global platforms and have been busy making local content for audiences around the world. The global penetration of these two platforms makes them uniquely well positioned to turn non-US content into truly global hits.


Across all platforms in the US, the supply of non-US series on-platform outstrips the share of demand. This is to be expected as this content is designed to work well internationally. The fact that it still manages to drive a substantial share of demand on these platforms in the US is a win.

Following the two leaders, Hulu and Peacock have the next largest shares of their catalog originating from markets outside the US. This 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. Peacock is the platform where shows from English speaking markets make up the largest share of its international catalog. The UK, Australia, and New Zealand each accounted for a larger share of international titles on Peacock than on any of these other platforms.

We can get a better sense of the different international content strategies of these platforms by looking at which regions are fueling their audiences’ demand for international content.


A significant share of demand for Max’s non-US content was for international series from other Anglophone countries. This may give the platform 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 platform.

Netflix stands out as having the largest share of demand for non-US series from continental Europe. Notably, five different markets contributed a greater than 2% share of demand in this category. While other platforms might have particular strength in series from one country, the range of markets driving US demand on Netflix for European content shows how the platform can draw on series from multiple markets here.

We have previously identified Turkish content as a category that 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 platform 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 the rights to these shows.

There are many strategies US 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 platforms are getting content from. What remains to be seen is whether any pivot by streamers towards more international series will accelerate the long term trend of growing US demand for international content.

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