Why Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ Is Popular Around the Globe
The streaming service, available in 190 countries, must produce shows that cross cultural lines.
Netflix launched simultaneously in 130 new countries about two years ago. Since then, it has struggled with how to create shows that stretch across cultural and country lines. Shows like Stranger Things need to have audiences all around the world, Wired writes, because Netflix needs to maintain a library that people will pay for all year, and despite their large budget, Netflix cannot afford to make country-specific shows for all 190 countries where the service is available.
One way Netflix crosses borders is with the creation of a Key Names and Phrases tool, reports Wired. This is a spreadsheet where freelancers and vendors put translations so that everything is consistent. For a show like Stranger Things, which is packed with 80s references, this requires a lot of leg work. For example, the Demogorgon, which is the monster the Stranger Things kids named after a Dungeons & Dragons demon prince. The team had to look into old D&D materials to see how different cultures translated “demogorgon” back in the mid-1970s.
Another way the streaming service maintains consistency is through the voice actors they hire. They try to find people who sound like the original cast, reports Wired, and also looks for voices that can work across different titles.
The company has also advanced efforts to make the service more usable in emerging markets, reports Wired. They have introduced downloadable content, so people can get an episode while on Wi-Fi but watch on the go. The streaming giant is also working on getting better quality for fewer bits of data for when people are watching over a cellular network.
Then of course, there are the shows themselves. Netflix is dedicated to making shows that people want to watch. Netflix has partnered with Marvel for a multi-series deal, according to Wired, and has also invested heavily in anime.
It seems to be working. Netflix users in 190 countries watched Stranger Things and viewers from 70 of those nations became devoted fans, according to Wired. Someone even watched Season 1 in Antarctica, a first for Netflix.
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