Ampere’s proprietary Popularity Score indicates that an increasing share of the most popular TV shows and movies globally are being produced outside the USA. By observing the 100 most popular titles each year—measured by the total score achieved—there has been an acceleration in the internationalisation of the top content in the last two years, with 27% of the year’s most popular titles now coming from outside the USA, up from 17% in 2019.
Given the recency of this incline and findings from Ampere’s consumer research—which shows subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) audiences are more internationalised than non-SVoD users—this trend can be attributed primarily to the global SVoD platforms.
As platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video increasingly rely on international subscribers to keep growing as the US market saturates, they are commissioning localised original content to attract subscribers in international markets. These local titles are then also made easily available on the platform internationally. Additionally, while the SVoD giants remain in competition with broadcasters on the domestic level, the former remain viable buyers of the international distribution rights for content produced by the latter. Via these two mechanisms, it has become increasingly easy for consumers in markets such as the USA and UK—historically among the least internationalised in terms of content—to access titles produced overseas.
This easy access has allowed more non-USA originated content to become worldwide hits. The most popular TV shows have diversified earlier and much more consistently than movies; from January to October 2021, 37% of the 100 most popular TV shows were produced outside the USA, compared to just 9% of the top 100 movies. Canada, Japan, South Korea, Spain and the UK are emerging as production hubs of globally popular TV shows
The influence of Netflix Originals on this trend is particularly noticeable. Shows like Squid Game, Money Heist and Lupin exemplify the globally popular Netflix Original produced outside the USA. Each became the top title on the platform in over 70 markets (out of the 85 tracked), with Squid Game maintaining the dominant position for at least 14 days in 75 markets. This highlights Netflix’s ability as a global OTT platform to promote its titles and make them worldwide hits. With more platforms, including HBO Max and Paramount+, expanding internationally, and Disney launching its suite of SVoD products in more markets, we can expect to see an increasing share of the year’s most popular content coming from outside the USA.