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Netflix, Amazon International Orders Outpace U.S.

Netflix, Amazon International Orders Outpace U.S.

Netflix, Amazon International Orders Outpace U.S.

Netflix and Amazon are back on top, again. In the first quarter of 2024, Netflix and Amazon have reasserted their dominance in original content commissioning for streaming platforms, according to a new report by Ampere Analysis. The two streaming giants accounted for more than half (53 percent) of all global SVOD commissions in the first quarter.

Netflix commissioned its highest number of new titles since the third quarter of 2021, while Amazon set a new record for its quarterly commissions, Ampere reports. This surge comes as budget-conscious rival streamers have cut back on commissioning.

Both Netflix and Amazon ordered more originals outside the U.S. than in the U.S. In the first quarter, the number of Netflix commissions out of Western Europe, led by originals from the U.K., Spain and Germany, nearly matched that in North America, and Asia Pacific titles also saw a notable uptick. Amazon also upped its game in Asia, particularly in India, where the streamer ordered a record slate of 37 new titles, more than the previous six quarters combined.

Ampere predicts the streamers will continue to boost international production to expand their global subscriber base and counter domestic subscriber stagnation.

“The market saturation in North America, the growing cost of production, and the lingering impact of the Hollywood strikes have pushed Netflix and Amazon to increase investment in international productions to stimulate subscriber growth,” said Mariana Enriquez Denton Bustinza, senior researcher at Ampere Analysis. “While several studio-backed SVODs have made cutbacks internationally, these two streaming giants are doubling down on their localized global strategy.”

The Ampere study does not distinguish between genres or budget levels. The cost of producing international shows is substantially less than that in the U.S., so a higher number of commissions does not necessarily translate to a greater content spend internationally compared to domestic.

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Indeed, Ampere notes that low-cost documentaries accounted for 30 percent of Netflix’s commissions in Western Europe in the first quarter, up from 23 percent over the same period last year.

The report teases out some of the strategic differences between the two streaming rivals. In India, Netflix has focused on commissioning crime and thriller series, Ampere said but has decreased its domestic orders of original movies, relying instead on pay-one agreements with theatrical studios for a supply of new, exclusive U.S. films for the territory.

Amazon, which holds a large lead over Netflix in India in terms of subscriber figures, recently announced its largest slate of Indian original movies to date. The platform is also actively pursuing pay-one and co-financing deals with local theatrical distributors in the territory. The diverse array of Indian movies headed to Prime Video includes war film Shershaah, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani; Sudha Kongara’s action drama Soorarai Pottru; and the Vicky Kaushal-starring historical drama Sardar Udham. The importance of the Indian market to the streamer’s international strategy was one reason behind Amazon casting India superstar Priyanka Chopra alongside Richard Madden in its big-budget spy series Citadel.

While Netflix is “catering to a broad subscriber base while leaning on markets whose productions offer the greatest potential for crossover appeal,” says Bustinza, Amazon’s approach “remains more heavily targeted towards key markets such as India, while it leverages its global position to expand further into the theatrical market to generate downstream revenues from its platforms.”

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