Netflix and Amazon Are Giving Us the World

Perhaps “Peak TV” has one more run in it — outside of the U.S., that is. That’s mostly thanks to Amazon and Netflix.

The two largest streamers (by user base) accounted for more than half (53 percent) of all film and TV titles commissioned for SVOD streaming globally between January-March 2024, according to a new report by Ampere Analysis.

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In the first quarter of 2024, Netflix ordered more series (anywhere) than it has in two-and-a-half years, according to Ampere Analysis. Most of that growth came from the company’s increased investment in international territories. Similarly, the majority of Amazon’s commissions have also come away from the states.

So why are they so active overseas (and across borders)? Netflix and Amazon are also the most matured streaming services in the U.S. There really aren’t many new members left for them to scoop up. Abroad, production is cheaper, and markets have yet to be fully penetrated. Global streamers, including those first launched in the U.S., can actually cut costs and increase production if their focus is indeed global, and they can also increase their overall member bases.

And they’re just getting started: Ampere predicts spend outside of the U.S. will continue to rise for both.

Where? Let’s consult the map. Our first stop is Western Europe, where Netflix ordered nearly as many shows as it did North American titles for the first time ever. Spain, the UK, and Germany, which Ampere says are “proven market providers of portable content,” are the hotspots.

A lot of unscripted content comes from this region, and the documentary space is on the rise — minus the UK, it seems. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of Netflix’s Q1 2024 commissions from the area were docs, up from 23 percent in the same quarter last year. This, despite the UK documentarians letting others in on the fun. In the first quarter of 2023, the UK contributed 78 percent of Western-Europe’s documentaries; in the first quarter of 2024 it was just 43 percent. Unscripted programming, like documentaries, are relatively inexpensive to produce when compared to scripted fare.

Amazon is larger than Netflix in Germany, and it is not giving the country up without a fight. In the first three months of this year, Amazon’s commissions in Germany nearly doubled (to 13).

These orders are not just series orders. Both Netflix and Amazon have increased commissions of international films. Netflix has grown its film presence in territories like the Nordics, Asia Pacific (“a notable uptick,” per Ampere), and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Thailand has also become a big target for Netflix.

Then there is India, where Netflix again trails Amazon. Netflix is relying heavily on crime & thriller titles to catch up, but the home to Prime Video and Freevee is not taking its foot off the gas. In the studied quarter, Amazon ordered a record 37 titles, more than it had in the previous six quarters combined.

There is just one problem with some of this push: the money part. Netflix’s average revenue per member (ARM, what most companies call ARPU) in the U.S. and Canada was $16.18 during this same quarter. It was slightly less than half that in the poorer Asia-Pacific region. Subscribers may be easier to come by but the rupees are not.

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