Netflix prioritises localisation in major EU markets | Media Analysis | Business
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As global markets become more important for the subscription video-on-demand leader, Netflix has embarked on a mixed strategy of localisation throughout the EU and Asia with customisation for the major markets it wishes exploit says research from Ampere Analysis.
ampere netflix dubbing 30March2020
The analyst’s study shows that Netflix customises its localisation strategy for key markets, choosing to prioritise dubbed content in territories such as Japan, France and Germany, while focusing on subtitle use in smaller markets. In most non-English speaking territories, Netflix’s catalogue comprises 90% foreign-language content, making localisation, either through audio dubbing or subtitles, extremely important.

Yet even as Netflix was embarking on this strategy and accelerated its local original content commissioning activity, Ampere noted that Netflix’s locally-produced titles still represent the minority of its catalogue in all its markets. This means it has to rely on subtitling and dubbing to localise for audiences in its many territories. Netflix overwhelmingly uses subtitles compared with local peers, and in most markets, dubbing represents less than 30% of Netflix’s catalogue of foreign titles.

By contrast, Netflix has taken a tactical approach to dubbed content and in large markets like Japan, where local content is extremely important, over two-fifths of titles are dubbed and nearly every programme has subtitles.

However, Ampere said that Netflix’s dubbing priority was currently focused on the four largest EU markets, namely France, Germany, Italy, Spain where as much as 60% of foreign content in these territories is dubbed. There are scale advantages for this: as the languages spoken in these latter markets cover multiple territories, investments in expensive dubbing processes can often be spread across other territories including Latin America, Africa and Canada, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and others.

Looking at specific examples for specific operators, Ampere found that Joyne in Germany, formerly Maxdome, and Mediaset Infinity in Italy both have near 100% dubbed content coverage. The analyst made the point however that Netflix’s catalogue was typically larger than peers and that its subtitling coverage was often superior.

The study also revealed that the use of dubbing varied significantly across different language markets. Ampere recorded that in English-speaking markets, local language content comprised 70% of titles with remainder mostly subtitled. In French, German, Italian and Spanish-speaking markets, typically 90% of titles are foreign language, and dubbing is much more common. This it said partly due to the scale of the markets, and partly due to the ubiquity of the languages themselves.

“For Netflix, the level of localisation of foreign language titles largely depends on the markets, remarked Tingting Li, analyst at Ampere Analysis. “In English-speaking countries, Netflix’s strategy is to localise foreign titles via English subtitles, while in other key markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, the streaming giant makes certain that most foreign titles are either subtitled or dubbed – catering to local content preferences. For other markets, such as Russia and Turkey, which represent a smaller portion of Netflix’s subscriber base, and thus harder to justify extensive localisation investments, between 13% – 28% of content is localised – but we expect this to change as market penetration grows.”