In quarter one, 2024 Netflix and Amazon returned to dominance in original commissioning, having been challenged in recent years by the launch of studio-backed SVoD platforms.

According to a new report by Ampere Analysis, Netflix commissioned its highest number of new titles since quarter three 2021, and Amazon set a new record for its quarterly commissions. This resurgence in original orders coincides with falling commissions from cost-conscious rival streamers, which meant the two streaming giants accounted for more than half (53%) of all SVoD commissions globally in quarter one.

This growth is spurred by increased investment in international territories, with Netflix and Amazon ordering the majority of their titles from outside the USA. Over the past few years, spend outside of the USA by the two commissioners has increased steadily. Ampere predicts it will continue to rise as the players attempt to combat domestic subscriber stagnation by chasing expansion internationally.

Netflix’s commissioning growth propelled by W European and Asia-Pacific titles

In quarter one 2024, Netflix’s Western European commissions almost achieved parity with North American titles for the first time. Asia Pacific titles also saw a notable uptick. Netflix is seizing the opportunity for international growth, focusing on proven market providers of portable content such as Spain, India, and South Korea.

Netflix’s Western European commissions were led by the UK, Spain, and Germany. Cost-effective Unscripted content featured heavily in the platform’s Western European commissions, with Documentaries accounting for 30% of regional orders, up from 23% in Q1 last year. The UK only contributed 43% of the region’s Documentaries, a notable drop from the same period last year when it was 78%

In Asia Pacific, Thailand experienced the biggest individual increase with nine titles ordered in quarter 1 2024. Crime & Thriller content was a focus in India, which is predicted to become Netflix’s largest subscriber hub in the region as it seeks to compete more closely with Amazon in the country.

Netflix is increasingly reliant on pay-one agreements with theatrical studios for its supply of new, exclusive US films, and has decreased its domestic commissioning of original movies. By contrast, it has upped its international movie orders in territories like the Nordics, Asia Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In comparison, in quarter one 2024, Amazon’s Asia Pacific commissions were dominated by Indian productions with a record slate of 37 titles. This is more than the previous six quarters combined and an increase on Amazon’s previous major Indian slate in Q2 2022 of 32%. Global streamers, including Amazon, have previously struggled to compete with local players that offer strong regional content. However, this total signals Amazon’s intention to take on the incumbent platforms, cementing India as the cornerstone of its international strategy.

The streamer also announced its largest slate of Indian original movies to date and is actively pursuing pay-one and co-financing deals with local theatrical distributors. Enabled by its takeover of studio MGM, Amazon has upped its global orders of original movies in the past two years, commissioning more films than Netflix for the first time in Q2 2023.

Germany, where Amazon leads Netflix in terms of local subscribers, was the biggest winner in Western European commissions. After a period of focus on Italy and France, Amazon’s commissions saw an unprecedented increase in Germany in Q1 2024 with 13 content orders, almost doubling a previous high in Q1 2021.

Mariana Enriquez Denton Bustinza, Senior Researcher at Ampere Analysis says: “The market saturation in North America, the growing cost of production, and the lingering impact of the Hollywood strikes have pushed Netflix and Amazon to increase investment in international productions to stimulate subscriber growth. While several studio-backed SVoDs have made cutbacks internationally, these two streaming giants are doubling down on their localized global strategy. For Netflix, this means catering to a broad subscriber base while leaning on markets whose productions offer the greatest potential for crossover appeal. Meanwhile, Amazon’s approach remains more heavily targeted towards key markets such as India, while it leverages its global position to expand further into the theatrical market to generate downstream revenues from its platforms.”

Pippa Considine

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