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The increasing globalization of production poses a problem for Hollywood

The increasing globalization of production poses a problem for Hollywood
The increasing globalization of production poses a problem for Hollywood


With another strike likely avoided and Hollywood crews to keep hope As the job market finally looks set to rebound, the ominous question looming over the first half of 2024 remains: Is the post-peak TV valley just that—a valley between peaks—or is it something more permanent? can Will the company ever return to record levels?

It's not an easy question to answer, but if current trends are any indication, a shrinking of the American entertainment industry—much like what's happened to the country's auto and manufacturing industries—may well be imminent, as film and television production becomes increasingly global at the expense of work in the United States.

A high-profile study released by Ampere Analysis last week, for example, found that Netflix and Amazon have “regained their dominance” in original title orders among streamers, accounting for just over half of all SVOD content orders in the first quarter, as their rivals cut spending.

And well over half of those titles will come from international territories, with non-U.S. TV shows and movies accounting for about 70% of Netflix and Amazon's original content commissions in the first quarter.

While many media outlets have reported on the study, few have highlighted the implications of the data for the long-term health of Hollywood. Placed in the context of broader trends in the entertainment industry, the data suggests that the globalization of the content industry may already have reached a tipping point.

This globalization has been a long-simmering trend in the entertainment industry, of course, especially since the release of “Squid Game” on Netflix in Korea took the world by storm in 2021. But while few international titles have seen comparable success since then, Netflix in particular has been investing more in localized original content, with titles produced by and for a particular international market.

Indeed, Ampere reported earlier this year that Netflix's overseas content spending is expected to surpass its domestic budget for the first time in 2024. In the meantime, the streamer itself is proud highlighting its growing content investments in regions such as Southeast Asia and has steadily increased its annual rollout of non-English language series in recent years, according to data from Luminate Film & TV.

Luminate’s numbers also indicate that nearly half of Netflix’s TV output in the first half of 2024 was made up of international titles (80 unique series out of 172 releases). The strikes partly explain this phenomenon, of course, as there were fewer American series to be released this year due to the long production hiatus in 2023, which did not impact overseas filming.

But when paired with Ampere’s new study, Luminate’s data starts to look a little more worrisome. How can Netflix’s U.S. output rebound as more and more of the streamer’s content spending — which, it’s worth noting, has been becoming flatter Overall, are we moving towards production abroad?

Moreover, how can U.S. production in general revive when the two largest streaming content commissioners are increasingly ordering international titles while their competitors are ordering fewer titles overall? Disney, generally considered the strongest of the traditional media groups, ordered just 51 streaming shows and films in the first quarter of 2024, according to Ampere data — its second-lowest figure since the second quarter of 2020, the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown — compared with 215 for Netflix and 140 for Amazon.

In other words, if current trends continue, Hollywood could face a prolonged labor drought as the largest content providers shift spending to markets where production and labor are cheaper and less regulatedDoes this all sound familiar?

As much as it hurts to say it, Hollywood crews waiting for a surge in work may be in for a very long wait.




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