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Media & Entertainment 12.18.20 BLOG 

US Platform Wars: Becoming a Global SVOD

Roy Dvorkin, Vice President of Media & Entertainment,


US Platform Wars: Becoming a Global SVOD

Do you remember when Netflix was the only streaming platform available?

Back in 2007, Netflix began offering subscribers the ability to stream specific movies and television shows directly to their homes. Rather than renting a film and receiving it in the mail days later, subscribers could watch the move of their choice with only a device and a solid internet connection.

Since the first streaming service launched over 13 years ago, there are now more than 200 subscription services worldwide.

When Disney+ launched in November 2019, within the first 24 hours, ten million people signed up for the service. That 24-hour surge doubled Disney’s value over Netflix’s.

In 2019, there were 642 million subscription video on-demand (SVOD) global subscribers—up from 508.44 million the year prior. By the end of 2020, there will be almost 750 million subscribers—possibly more due to the effects of COVID-19. And by 2025 there will be an estimated 1.1 billion subscribers worldwide.  

Preparing for Global


When Netflix first launched their original content, they followed the same model as the rest of the industry: they only acquired the rights to markets where they had a presence. The IP owner/distributor sold the content to the highest bidder, who then managed the localization themselves.

Then the situation in Scandinavia hit the fan.

Most of the major studios sold their content to Netflix for their Nordic launch. But many of them did not hold the Nordic subtitles, or even have the rights to air the subtitles, as the broadcasters who aired them first obtained those rights and paid to localize them for their first window airing.

It was an industry scramble to localize hundreds, if not thousands, of titles into all four Nordic languages (again)—but this time, they archived the assets and obtained the proper rights.

The industry learned a lot from those days, and the localization strategy for all the studios and platforms has changed since then. 


On December 2, 2020, Discovery Inc. announced the global launch of Discovery+, their streaming service debuting on January 4. This launch will initially be available in seven countries worldwide.

They now join the international SVOD programs, including Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV Plus. HBO Max and Hulu have both announced a target timeline of the second half of 2021 to be available internationally.

Why Go Global

With more than 200 services worldwide, why have so few of them gone global? Rights have a lot to do with it.

Untangling old rights agreements is an ongoing process. The costs of acquiring international rights are also taken into consideration. Companies need to consider the following:

  • Do I acquire global rights now even though I am only in my domestic market?
  • Do I sell my content to other platforms now to amortize the cost of production?
  • Do I hold the content knowing one day I will launch into markets X, Y, and Z?

No matter what decision you make, owning the localized assets and controlling the globalization of the brand is a must. In fact, companies like Netflix now consider the localized assets as primary assets, whereas before they were considered secondary.  

The Future of the Platform Streaming Wars

Disney believes they will become the largest SVOD platform by 2025, with a global total of 194 million subscribers. Part of the reasoning for their strong global numbers is their initial worldwide rollout.

According to market research, Global SVOD Platform forecasts, “The US and India will account for nearly half of Disney+ subscriber base by 2025” due to the US bundle of Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu, along with India’s Disney+ Hotstar, which offers coverage of IPL cricket.

Getting Started

Are you thinking of launching globally? Work with TransPerfect and the MediaNEXT platform to help manage your subtitling and dubbing needs, while ensuring quality and securing the appropriate rights for your primary localized assets.

We can localize your entire platform with consistency in mind, from UI to synopsis and from terms and conditions to chatbot customer support and direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns.


Contact us today to learn more about our localizing expertise.

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