Is Netflix finally going to offer global content?


Netflix is arguably the most extensive streaming movie and TV platform in the world. But, much to users’ dismay, the content selection isn’t identical in each country.

So, if a person gets used to watching a certain show on Netflix, then moves to another nation, it may not be possible to keep enjoying a similar library of content. For example, the United States has the most television shows on Netflix compared to any other country -- 1,157. It also boasts the most movies, with the current total over 4,500. Considering Portugal only has 537 films in the Netflix collection and just over 200 shows, it’s no wonder people get frustrated by those geographical differences.


They often use VPN services to compensate, but Netflix regularly uses technology to detect when people do and restricts them from accessing the service at all through those means.

However, people could be in luck, because evidence suggests Netflix is moving towards a more global content library instead of a location-dependent one.

A Global Strategy Could Make Netflix More Appealing and Far-Reaching

In August 2018, Netflix missed its subscriber goals for the first time. That news made investors panic, and the company’s stock prices plunged. While writing a feature for Digital Trends, Joshua Fruhlinger went into detail about why he believes the future of Netflix will be bright for people who love globally available content.

Fruhlinger uncovered a pattern of aggressive hiring for Netflix positions in Asia. And, information about the individual positions indicates the company doesn’t want to merely promote the content it already has but hire people to curate material and find out what people in local markets wish to see.

Additionally, the attempts to hire in Asia suggest Netflix is following best practices for international expansion, which include testing the market -- something that may already be underway -- and knowing who and how to hire.

Moreover, Fruhlinger strengthened his main point by bringing up his belief of how many of the best shows Netflix offers come from other countries. Netflix is seemingly aware of the worth of high-quality international content too since it acquired the worldwide rights to an Indian drama film called Garbage. In a statement, the film’s director expressed excitement about the potential for his worldwide fans to watch his work via Netflix.

Licensing Restrictions Cause Hiccups

The reason why offerings differ based on a Netflix user’s location relates to outdated content licensing regulations. They only allow people to view content if Netflix holds the license to make the material available in a particular country.

When Netflix keeps content providers happy, the likelihood goes up that they’ll allow Netflix to license content to everyone. That’s positive, but it could take a while for the global reach customers crave.

But, if Netflix makes more deals involving worldwide rights, such as the Garbage film deal above, they could potentially make progress faster concerning licensing regulations.

Netflix Must Stay Aware of Regional Politics

Any successful global expansion requires knowing characteristics about a country’s political makeup, most popular religions and more. Netflix has already encountered friction due to the content of some of its international programming.

However, if the company offers truly global content someday, it might not face backlash so often. A representative could state -- honestly -- that any material deemed offensive in a particular country is also available in any other place that offers Netflix and to remove it in one place would interfere with Netflix’s international aims.

Global Is the Goal

When addressing the matter of how people attempt to use VPN services to get around geographic content restrictions, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admitted that the solution to that problem is for the company to offer the same content to everyone no matter where they are in the world.

Until the company reaches that milestone, it’s increasing the amount of content that originates from other countries, and most people would likely agree that’s better than nothing.

An Exciting Possibility Without a Simple Path to Success

The fact that the head of Netflix mentions a global content library is promising, as are Netflix’s efforts to establish bases in other countries and look for content there.

Getting around licensing restrictions will not be easy. If Netflix is serious about making its content equally enticing to people all over the globe, it’ll need to investigate opportunities to prioritize content that gives them worldwide streaming rights.

In any case, Netflix’s push to provide international content should give a more interesting selection to viewers everywhere, which would undoubtedly be good for business.

Photo credit: Sukharevskyy Dmytro (nevodka) / Shutterstock

Kayla Matthews is a senior writer at MakeUseOf and a freelance writer for Digital Trends. To read more from Kayla, visit her website

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