The Rise of International Content

Seán Roberts, VP UK & Ireland , 09.06.23

09.06.23 Seán Roberts, VP UK & Ireland

Recent years have seen a steady increase in the popularity and consumption of non-English language entertainment within the UK and the English speaking world. Netflix data shows that in the UK, viewing of non-English language stories has increased by 90% over the last three years.

But what is driving this evolution, and how does it impact our marketing strategy?

The Rise of International Content

This rise in non-English language consumption can be attributed to several factors, including:

  1. Increased availability and accessibility. With the proliferation of streaming services now available to consumers, the primary distribution model for televised content has changed significantly over the last decade. Britons now spend more on streaming services than traditional paid TV packages. Platforms with global reach such as Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ have given audiences easy access to international content, from Squid Game to the Oscar®-nominated All Quiet on the Western Front, and afforded these titles new audiences.
  2. Social media and word of mouth. Social media platforms have given fans and critics the chance to discuss and recommend shows, contributing to the visibility and popularity of international titles. Squid Game was the most tweeted about TV show in the US of 2021, with its viral popularity contributing to its global success. Show-derived games such as "red light, green light" even formed viral online trends on TikTok and have been viewed billions of times, further driving title engagement.
  3. Acclaim and awards. Recently, many non-English language TV shows and films have gained critical acclaim, being recognised via prestigious awards and nominations such as BAFTAs (Lupin), Golden Globes (All Quiet on the Western Front) and Oscars (An Cailín Ciúin). This recognition generates buzz and awareness and also lends credibility among UK audiences, leading to greater viewership.

Our Approach to Promotion

We proudly worked on an Awards campaign for Alfonso Cuarón's breakthrough foreign language film Roma, which tied the record for most Oscar nominations for a non-English language film.

Our For Your Consideration campaign aimed to bring the film into mainstream consciousness. Our creative team focused on universal elements, such as the score and cinematography, to make the film feel familiar. This familiarity, combined with elevation of critical and consumer response to the film, helped cast Roma as a relatable and favourable film worthy of an Oscar win.

Our media team then amplified the message we created, running ad campaigns across digital and traditional platforms with targeting designed to reach guild and academy voters in a way that felt authentic. Furthermore, with offices and people on the ground across North America, EMEA, and APAC, we truly understand local markets and cultural sensitivities while showcasing the content that will resonate with a specific audience based on key themes, talent and visuals.

Here to Stay

With the marked increase in non-English language consumption, it is no surprise that Netflix continues to invest in non-English content. The service doubled its budget for German language content to half a billion dollars between 2021 and 2023 and plans to invest $2.5 billion in Korean programming over the next 4 years.

As non-English content continues to thrive, we continue to tailor our campaigns to ensure we effectively communicate the heart of a story. We reach diverse audiences with a flexible, creative strategy that taps into the most universal themes to grab consumer and trade attention. Want to learn more about our expertise in telling these increasingly global stories? Get in touch.

Find out what we can do for you