Streaming is the way to go now, people are more inclined to have an array of choices at their disposal. Don’t get me wrong! Cable TV does have its fun bits. Moreover, nothing can beat having multiple live sports channels at your command. However, when it comes to movies and seasons the story is quite different. Nobody wants to wait or watch TV according to the cable guide schedule. People prefer on-demand content now. Something Netflix has done well, while YouTube sort of set the tone. Netflix took the initiative further from renting movies during the 90s and 2000s to being a global phenomenon. The video streaming company took catering to the customer to a whole another level.
Netflix is a prime example of localization services used right. Not only does Netflix provide thousands of streaming options, it does so in 62 different languages. Users can feel right at home streaming international and national content to their ease. Netflix has over 190 million subscribers from 190 different countries. Moreover, the localization strategy is done so well, that Turkey, Japan, India, and Sweden content makes up for 90% of all global demands. The film translations are done on such a localized level that users feel no issue consuming different cultural content.
Table of Content
- Netflix’s Localization Strategy: An Overview
- Best Localization Strategies for Global Streaming Service Success
- Netflix’s 3 Phases of Success
- Conclusion: What Has Netflix Taught Us
Netflix’s Localization Strategy: An Overview
So, what was it about Netflix’s localization strategy that helped them gain global success? Well, most importantly they adapted and re-designed their content to suit local language and market demands. For example, a show translated and localized in English had its songs, jokes, cultural references, and more changed to suit English regional needs. This strategy makes the show more interesting and relatable. Moreover, if the language was not translated via film translation services, people would not understand them or even know they exist. Netflix has given directors and writers a platform no matter where they are from. If their content is liked by people, Netflix will fund them. So now niche individuals are targeted, and the massive audience means demands are always high.
Plots, dialogues, visuals, references, and post-production editing. Everything is carefully planned and executed. We have broken down a few ways in which streaming companies can gain international success.
Best Localization Strategies for Global Streaming Service Success
Here are a few strategies that Netflix used and other streaming services can also recreate their success. Remember, the quality of your media translation services plays a major role in your success.
1. Plan Correctly and Research
Deciding on translation strategies like captions, subtitles, dubbing, or voice-overs is just one aspect of localizing your content. It’s equally important to have an understanding of cultural sensitivities. In some conditions, what is successful in one market may fail in another without proper localization. In such instances, a complete overhaul of the show or film is necessary, involving the creation of new scripts, sets, cast members, and scenarios.
For example, the office has different shows in the US and the UK. Different cast members, scripts, scenarios everything mentioned above. Shameless and Top Gear are some more examples. Similarly while translating into different languages cultural sensitivities are also paid attention to. For example, censorship laws are different in the US and Dubai. What may be censored in Dubai might be common in the US. So, to avoid any bans and fines one must understand these differences.
2. Good Software
People from around the world don’t need to view their content the same way. In some countries, the use of laptops for watching movies is more common. Similarly, others may prefer mobile devices, tablets, smart TVs, or any other form of technology. So your streaming application and website must be adaptable to various forms of technology. Moreover, people now have so many choices like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus, Fubu, and more. If your streaming service is lacking quality then users will simply move on.
3. Region Rules and Regulation Compliance
No one is safe from the wrath of new market regulations, not even Netflix. For example, France has a rule that no new movie can be released on any streaming service until 3 years have passed from its release or cinema premiere. Regulations are usually concerned with age, violence, sex, nudity, language, and religious sensitivities. Failing to meet these regulations may result in fines, banning, or cultural dismissal of the service.
4. Use of Dubbing, Subbing, and More
Captions and subtitles have a small difference. Captions give users more information like non-speech sounds and references. While subtitles are mainly focused on dialogue. Captions are better, as they take the visually impaired into account. But the main issues come at a cost. Subtitles are cheaper to do than captions, which is why we often see captions in high-end production films. Also, a reason why they are less available in less spoken languages. Software can help make these services cheaper, but are often prone to making mistakes. A mix of humans and AI can yield the best results. Especially if you are looking to caption or sub in multiple languages.
Dubbing though is above subs and captions. It allows the user to understand foreign content like it was their own. Fun fact, 60% of all Netflix content consumed in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain is foreign. Dubbing is way cheaper than using different cast members and scripts. Moreover, dubbing makes the movie more accessible. Not all users need to be comfortable with reading subs. Moreover, reading speed usually tends to vary and is slower for most individuals. Furthermore, a movie enthusiast doesn’t need to be well-read and most are often not. Dubbing allows users to watch their movies without any distractions, it is just more engaging. Moreover, the use of AI and technology has made dubbing relatively cheaper than before.
5. Start Small and Learn
It is best to start small when penetrating new markets. Because there is a good chance that people might not respond the way you want. Moreover, depending on your niche which could be educational or entertainment based. You can have an idea of what resonates better with the local audience. This way you can localize the most profitable and popular forms of content first.
Netflix’s 3 Phases of Success
1. US Market Saturation
Netflix first promoted its content in the US and expanded to Canada. The primary focus at first was to develop 1st world English-speaking countries. Which was smart considering it is easier to localize for the same language with only minor nuances.
2. Global Expansion
Netflix began its operations in non-English speaking countries from Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The primary localization strategy involved dubbing and captions. Many shows like Alice in Wonderland, Ragnarok, Money Heist, Dark, Elite, and more gained massive followings through it.
3. Local Partnerships and Cultural Relevance
Netflix had a major focus on promoting local content along with international content. This helped them add multicultural shows to their ranks. Moreover, they now began to focus on keeping things culturally relevant. Each region has its own set of shows tailored for their audience. Moreover, they began promoting themselves in local things like food festivals, holidays, and more.
Conclusion: What Has Netflix Taught Us
Well, the first thing was to never rush into things. Netflix expanded globally slowly region by region. They challenged the US and Canadian markets closer to home before venturing off into Europe and Asia. By starting small they were able to adjust to market demands and predict user behavior.
The main focus for Netflix when expanding globally was localization. Subbing, dubbing, and creating a localized user interface. Quality translations and transcreations helped them double their subscriptions in a couple of years. Moreover, Netflix also brought in local content and tailored their lists to user liking. Another form of localization was algorithm-based user suggestions. This quality of translation, transcreation, and user-based interphase has been copied by most streaming services. It is a recipe for success.
Another commendable thing is consistency in tone and style. Moreover, they regularly conduct surveys to improve their services. To create an impact you need to anticipate what users need and transcreation has to be on point.