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April 30, 2023

What's the next foreign-content opportunity for TV?

Streaming platforms can guarantee growth by exploring foreign content to fit the bill nicely. An equally appealing upside is that consumers in the West are becoming increasingly more comfortable with content from overseas. According to data from GWI Zeitgeist Nov 2021, 50% of the time spent on Amazon and Netflix in Europe could be on non-English language shows by 2030. K Dass drills into the foreign-content breakthrough.

The television industry is constantly evolving, and streaming platforms have disrupted traditional television networks by providing an array of content that caters to diverse tastes and preferences. In recent years, the demand for foreign content has grown significantly, with viewers looking beyond their local programming for fresh and exciting content. With the streaming industry being one of the fastest-growing sectors, it is imperative that providers explore new opportunities to satisfy the thirst of their viewers.

The recent success of K-Dramas (Korean dramas) on streaming platforms like Netflix and Viki has opened doors to new opportunities in the world of foreign content. The K-Drama wave has been sweeping across the world, with fans falling in love with the captivating storylines, unique cinematography, and talented actors. The trend has not gone unnoticed, and other countries are following suit, creating their own captivating content that has the potential to capture the world's attention.

Nollywood in view

One such country is Nigeria. With over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and its film industry, popularly known as "Nollywood," is the second-largest film industry in the world, after India's Bollywood. Nollywood produces an estimated 2,500 movies annually, with most of them being low-budget productions that cater to local audiences. However, in recent years, Nollywood has been investing in producing high-quality content that has the potential to attract global audiences.

Nollywood movies are known for their unique storytelling, rich culture, and diverse characters. Most of the movies are shot in local languages such as Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo, with English subtitles added for the international audience. The movies explore genres such as love, family, culture, and tradition, providing a unique insight into Nigerian society.

Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have already started exploring the potential of Nollywood content, with Netflix releasing its first Nollywood original, "Lionheart," in 2018. The movie, directed by Genevieve Nnaji, tells the story of a young woman who takes over her father's transportation company but faces challenges from the male-dominated industry. The movie was well-received by audiences and critics alike and helped put Nollywood on the global map.

Nollywood has a lot of untapped potential, and with the right investments, it could become the next big thing in foreign content. The industry has already started producing high-quality content that showcases Nigeria's rich culture and diversity, and with more investments, the quality of the content will continue to improve. Streaming platforms can play a significant role in this growth by investing in Nollywood productions, providing access to a global audience, and helping to create a sustainable industry that benefits everyone involved.

Another country with untapped potential for foreign content is South Africa. The country has a rich history, culture, and diverse population that provides an excellent backdrop for compelling storytelling. South Africa has a thriving film and television industry that produces award-winning content, but most of it is only accessible to local audiences.

Most popular non-local media consumed

COUNTRYFirst ChoiceSecond Choice










Source: GWI Zeitgeist Nov 2021
Ranking of the popular foreign media (TV, books, films, music) from the following countries (excluding UK/US media)

Currently, this trend is primarily associated with shows like the South Korean TV series Squid Game or the Spanish drama Money Heist which took the world by storm; but Japanese content is where brands' attention should go next.

Content from Japan is the most popular non-local media people in both the UK and US consume, and second in China, India, and Brazil. Netflix is already eyeing up Japanese content for its next wave of non-English language originals, while Sony is betting big on Japan's anime industry.

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