Netflix looks local language stardom

New international strategy allows for shows to be hyper-localized.

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The Future. Netflix is shifting its strategy from “local for global” to “local for local,” meaning it wants culturally specific hits. It’s a fragmenting of the Netflix success model. While that will lead to a lot of investment in those chosen regions, it may also set off alarm bells for countries who are nervous that Netflix has the power and allure to replace their own local industries if they don’t put up guardrails.

Little wins, everywhere
Netflix wants to make more great Korean shows for South Korea or great Brazilian shows for Brazil.

  • That new international strategy allows for shows to be hyper-localized so that they speak very directly to the audience they’re made for.
  • That makes sense when most people around the world still mostly watch shows that are in their language and are steeped in their cultural context — especially on Netflix.
  • According to Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, Netflix “isn’t just trying to be the largest TV network in the world; it’s trying to be the most popular TV network in every single country.” 

Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria said as much last week when she declared, “We don’t make global shows; we make local, authentic shows that are on a global platform.” Getting a breakout show is just icing on the cake.

And if Netflix gets really lucky, it can turn a global hit into a sprawling local language franchise, as the company has done with Money Heist and hopes to do with Bird Box.


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