Will localized content win Netflix the streaming war?

We currently live in a market saturated with streaming options, where it seems everyone wants to recreate the success Netflix is having. In the US we can already see cable networks moving in this direction, with AMC recently launching its own streaming option. Netflix is also seeing Disney drop out of its collaboration with the streaming giant to launch its own platform, which will feature – among others – a Star Wars show. But is this really enough to best Netflix, which is now making a push towards localization?

To us it seems impossible to imagine anyone beating Netflix at streaming right now, since they’ve already managed to predict outside networks pulling their content from Netflix to launch their own services. Netflix has played it smart by creating its own productions, and although we would usually list those as “fine” (see our reviews for Gerald’s Game & Wheelman) it’s a fact a lot of their shows (such as House of Cards, Stranger Things & Narcos) are wildly successful. And now the service is adding localization on top of this.

By localization we don’t mean the current approach of Netflix, which is to produce an American show and release it worldwide. Instead we mean making productions in a non-English language, focused on a specific market. How can smaller local competitors compete when Netflix is also cornering content in a specific language?

Let’s have a look at what localized content is currently in production:

  • Dark (Germany): Strange things are abound in this 80s set German show that is selling itself as Stranger Things, but also not really.
  • Suburra (Italy): An organized crime thriller
  • Las chicas del cable (Spain): a romantic drama set in the 1920s

In what proves this is a strategy that should pay off, HBO is already following suit by creating a show with Swedish director Lukas Moodysson. One thing’s for sure; it’ll be interesting to see how this will all evolve.

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