According to a report published on Monday by Media Partners Asia, a research analysis firm based in Singapore, Asian content is getting quite the boost. Netflix has decided to dedicate 15% of its budget (a whopping 1.9 billion USD and 47% of revenues) to the genre. This includes live-action foreign films, as well as the ever-popular genre of anime.The sudden rise stems from the streaming service’s increasing popularity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Japan and South Korea are the biggest leaps in Netflix’s numbers, but we mustn’t leave out other contributors such as the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and India. China is not included in this group, as Netflix is not permitted there by the Chinese government. What is included, however, is Australia, who has to be one of the bigger influences in Netflix’s decision to cater towards Asia-Pacific content. If this comes as a surprise to you, remember that the country-continent is located just below Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. “The ad tier has seen a slow start in the three APAC markets,” said Vivek Couto, MPA’s executive director. “Australia is expected to see greater momentum through 2023, helping boost subscribers and revenues in a market where churn has been increasing.”
How This Affects the Asian Economy
While we don’t doubt that Netflix’s move is solely for its own financial gain, the benefits are mutual between both the company and the economy of the countries where the movies and shows are produced. Two good examples are Japan and South Korea, a couple of the biggest economic superpowers in the Eastern world. “Netflix’s APAC content investments have global impact,” said MPA’s head of content insights and lead analyst, Dhivya T. “Leading Japanese series and anime together with Korean dramas and movies as well as movies from Indonesia and India have ranked among the globally top streamed titles over the past twelve months through January 2023.” These movies help to flourish the movie and TV industry in these countries, as they will be viewed by millions of people around the world who wouldn’t normally be exposed to this type of content. Out of the twenty-nine Korean Netflix exclusives released in 2022, six were considered among the top ten biggest APAC titles of the entire year. This international exposure skyrocketed the success of South Korea’s film industry and brought new fans from all around the globe. This is vital to long-term financial survivability of both Netflix and South Korea. It’s safe to say that the partnership is mutually beneficial.
How This Affects the Netflix Catalog as a Whole
Now that a large chunk of Netflix’s budget is being given to Eastern content, that means less of, well, Western content. If we’re coming off as negative, it’s not on purpose. Eastern content can be just as varied and engaging as Western content. There are many people who seek it out, in fact, strictly for the style and the interest in Asian culture. These multi-cultural fans are key to Netflix’s success.
“Japan will continue to grow as Netflix strives to grow [its] impact with new scripted non-anime shows,” said Vivek Couto. “Japan is critical to Netflix’s prospects in the region with the market contributing over a quarter to the company’s total APAC revenues in 2023.”
Not everyone’s a fan, however, and for the same reasons. There’s also the fact that many people (whether it be eyesight issues, low attention span, or just personal preferences) don’t really care for movies that require subtitles. If you are one of the people who disapprove of Netflix’s move (which is fine; your opinion is your own), we implore you to think about how many people overseas feel the same way about Western content that takes up a majority of Netflix’s library of movies.
As stated before, Netflix helps to expose people around the world to movies and shows that you wouldn’t see otherwise in their country. It allows people to grasp the cultures and tastes of people on the other side of the globe, and it also brings a refreshing take on an industry that can get quite oversaturated.
It’s our opinion that Netflix’s move to provide more Asian content is, overall, a positive one, and best believe that we will continue to keep an eye on the most popular media the streaming service has to offer, no matter the origin or who it caters to. Hopefully you’ll find something new to binge during late nights at home!