We’ve been keeping an eye on the continuing expansion of international streaming video content - with Netflix as the primary catalyst, viewers around the world are now able to easily discover, watch, and binge international movies and series in ways that go well beyond what we could have envisioned a decade ago.
Outlined below are five meaningful viewer segments for internationally-produced (that is, non-native) content in the US. These groups are as fluid as the tastes of the increasingly diverse streaming market they represent, but nevertheless provide the start of a well-informed mapping of the new territory.
Not only do they watch programs produced and set beyond our borders, they seek them out. Attracted by a desire to journey vicariously, their cultural openness and/or desired global entertainment citizenship, they spend at least one third of their viewing time on international content. And while they may have genre, language or cultural preferences, they’re not limited to
any one niche. We foresee that over time this group, currently small, will continue to grow.
These viewers are willing (and eager) to voyage outside their usual
boundaries when accompanied by their favorite genres. They’re most prevalent in the mystery (often British and Northern European) and action (notably Asian) genres, though the phenomenon is expanding into less obvious places like Romance and Sci-fi. This segment has obvious crossover with the next one, Territorialists.
For this group, it’s all about location. They may be focused on content
from a specific country, region, or language (to reengage the familiar or to learn). Within this group there are two large subsets: (1) native speakers, with obvious cultural connections, and (2) non-native speakers with an affinity for the place/culture/language or the specific style of content that is produced in a country.
Some viewers will watch international series if, and only if, they gain
enough notoriety to become truly mainstream. The most recent example of a international series being catapulted to being the brief center of global interest is of course Squid Game. People in this group may be ripe to move on to Genre Adventurers, though they are unlikely to become Globalists. Nevertheless, these viewers present significant upside for producers and distributors that are able to finance and scale their projects.
Finally, the rejectors. We won’t go into all the possible reasons (e.g.,
an aversion to subtitles/dubbing) why some viewers just won’t branch out from their native and familiar content. However, the interesting question is whether over the next five years a sizable segment within this group may gradually and quietly give in to the abundance of great international content (we suspect the answer is yes). In that case, these viewers may unwittingly transform into Grand Tourists or Genre Adventurers before our eyes.
Over the coming year, we plan to quantitatively substantiate (with primary
and secondary research data) that the international viewing segments we’ve outlined are robust and substantial, better understand how they’re changing, and identify where the most salient opportunities can be found. Stay tuned. Mantenganse conectado. Restez avec nous. Bleiben sie dran. Channel wa sono mama!
Share this Post
Get in touch to find out more and discover how Lumiere can help you build stronger, deeper connections with your audience.