In recent times, the presence of Netflix has seemed ubiquitous. Research from JustWatch demonstrates that, as of the last quarter of 2020, Netflix wielded a substantial 31 percent of market share of streaming platforms in the United States. This exceeded the 2020 market share of Amazon Prime by nine percentage points, of Hulu by 17 percentage points, of Disney+ by 18 percentage points, and of HBO Max by 22 percentage points.
Netflix’s market share has now dropped owing to the increasing power of its rivals. It is evident, however, that Netflix’s competitive advantage has been robust, bolstered in no small part by the company’s strategic global expansion. In a Harvard Business Review article, Louis Brennan outlines this expansion process as follows.
First stage: entering Canada. This allowed the company to ease into internationalization, as Canada is close in proximity to and shares multiple cultural similarities with the United States.
Second stage: entering 50 more countries. These countries were selected primarily based on cultural similarities, consumer affluence, and internet accessibility. Because this stage necessitated growth in more distant markets, Netflix invested in content specific to these markets’ preferences, as well as in the company’s consumer data collection capabilities.
Third stage: entering 140 more countries. Netflix no longer needed to consider cultural similarities. It focused on adding more languages to its system, improving its personalization algorithms and mobile interface, and enhancing its customer support services.
In the wake of global expansion, Netflix has been funneling ample resources into marketing. A result of this was the company’s first-ever global brand campaign, titled “One Story Away,” launched in September of 2020. This initiative was communicated to 27 countries through billboard, digital, and television advertisements, after commencing with a compelling YouTube video (shown below) that combines narration with a montage of original content. Eric Pallotta, the Vice President of Brand & Editorial at Netflix, elucidated that the “One Story Away” campaign was intended to “encapsulate the passion for storytelling that lies at the heart of what Netflix — and the creators we work with all over the world — are trying to bring to our members.”
Though this campaign was largely standardized across countries, certain components were adapted to better appeal to consumers in foreign markets. While Ava DuVernay narrated the American “One Story Away” video, Maja Schöne narrated the German video, Yalitza Aparicio narrated the Mexican video, and Naruna Costa narrated the Brazilian video. Furthermore, different titles appear in the original content montage depending on the region. For instance, clips of Elite are featured in Spain, whereas clips of BoJack Horseman and Kingdom are featured in the Asia Pacific area. Additionally, some local Netflix executives have supplemented the campaign with their own social media content. For example, Netflix India has spearheaded a series of video interviews with film and television creators discussing the main inspirations behind their projects.
Adalian, J. (2020, September 24). How Netflix Is Selling Itself to the World. Vulture. https://www.vulture.com/2020/09/netflix-marketing-campaign-strategy.html.
Brennan, L. (2018, October 12). How Netflix Expanded to 190 Countries in 7 Years. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/10/how-netflix-expanded-to-190-countries-in-7-years.
Espósito, F. (2021, January 20). Apple TV+ had only 3% market share in the US last quarter, Netflix still in first place. 9to5Mac. https://9to5mac.com/2021/01/20/apple-tv-had-only-3-market-share-in-the-us-last-quarter-netflix-still-in-first-place/.