Local Content Producers Compete With American Streaming Companies
Demand for Talent Heats Up
Streaming giants Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), Disney (DIS), and AT&T’s (T) HBO Max are working to expand internationally, pouring billions of dollars into markets outside the US.
The American streaming giants are producing television shows and movies in a number of foreign languages. In some regions, this is creating a shortage of talent and generating pushback from local film and TV producers.
Prior to the streaming companies’ overseas expansion, local producers had no trouble hiring top talent internationally. With the likes of Netflix throwing cash at the television and film industries, local broadcasters and distributors are now left with limited resources.
Streaming Giants Pour Billions Into Local Content
Streaming companies have good reason for pursuing international markets. In 2020, world-wide streaming subscriptions surpassed 1.1 billion. That is up from less than 400 million global subscribers in 2016. The US streaming companies are making a big bet the next leg of their growth will come from viewers outside the US market, which is becoming saturated.
Netflix plans to spend more than $17 billion on global content in 2021 while Disney has earmarked $9 billion annually for global content on its Disney+ platform. Amazon has been doubling its amount of local language content since 2017. HBO Max plans to produce 100 local language shows and movies for Latin America over the course of the next two years.
Local Producers Respond
Local film producers and distributors have responded by engaging in mergers and acquisitions and picking up the pace of investment in original content. In April, Grupo Televisa (TV), the Mexican media giant, inked a multibillion-dollar merger with Univision Communications (UVN). The combined company plans to create a global streaming service. Meanwhile, Grupo Globo of Brazil is investing in original content for its streaming platform. Similar strategies are being employed in other international markets.
The streaming wars are heating up overseas as US-based companies pour billions into their next bastions of growth. It will be interesting to see which American streaming services come out ahead, and how local content producers respond to a changing market.
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