Foreign Language Shows Gaining Traction on US Streaming Platforms
Foreign language shows, especially those that originate from Europe and Asia, have been growing in popularity on major US streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Streaming platforms have been investing more in acquiring rights to international content.
Netflix – By far the largest library of foreign language shows. Netflix has invested heavily in international content, with hit shows coming from Spain, Germany, France, Korea, India and Latin America. Some estimates say 40-50% of new Netflix shows are now non-English.
Some of the most popular foreign language shows on US streaming have included Dark (German), Money Heist (Spanish), Lupin (French), Squid Game (Korean) among others. Many have found large audiences through word of mouth and on social media.
Hulu – A growing slate of foreign language dramas and comedies, especially from Korea and Japan. Popular titles include Parasite, Kingdom, Tokyo Vice, and recent Korean smash hit Extraordinary Attorney Woo.
Amazon Prime Video – An extensive mix of foreign films and shows available. Notable hits include The Bureau (French spy thriller), Deutschland 83 (German series), and the MMA drama Pasion de Gavilanes from Colombia.
HBO Max – Has expanded its international offerings, including shows from Spain (Veneno), Denmark (Kamikaze) and Sweden (Lust). Also streams acclaimed foreign shows like Gomorrah (Italy) and Babylon Berlin (Germany).
Disney+ – Leans into Spanish-language content via its Star brand, including titles like Love, Victor and films like Nomadland Spanish version. Also, some foreign imports like the Danish comedy Rita.
Apple TV+ – A limited but growing selection of foreign fare like Liaison (French), and Shantaram (India). Focuses more on English-language fare but opening up.
Peacock – Has a handful of Spanish-language shows like Belascoarán, Toda la Sangre, Armas de Mujer. But foreign content is currently a smaller part of its library.
That said, foreign language shows still represent a small percentage of overall viewing compared to English shows. But their audiences have been steadily growing as platforms continue to acquire more international content.
Here more information about the most popular foreign language streaming TV Show
Money Heist (Spanish): This crime drama about a group of thieves taking hostages and locking themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain has become one of Netflix’s most watched non-English shows. Viewership skyrocketed for its fourth and fifth seasons.
Dark (German): A sci-fi thriller series that debuted on Netflix in 2017. Its complex, time-travel storyline earned strong word of mouth and high viewership globally on Netflix. All three of its seasons rank among the platform’s top non-English shows.
Elite (Spanish): A teen drama set in an elite secondary school in Spain. Netflix reported over 20 million households watched Elite within its first month in 2018. Multiple seasons have ranked among Netflix’s Top 10 most popular releases.
Lupin (French): A crime series based on the classic French character Arsène Lupin. Its first two parts on Netflix peaked at the #2 spot in the US viewing charts. A third part is slated for 2023.
Squid Game (Korean): Perhaps the most viral foreign language series yet on Netflix. It holds the title of Netflix’s biggest series launch ever, with over 1.65 billion hours viewed in the first 28 days.
Narcos (Spanish): One of Netflix’s earliest foreign language successes, this crime drama about Pablo Escobar and the Medellín cartel garnered high views over 3 seasons.
3% (Portuguese): Set in a dystopian future in Brazil, this sci-fi thriller attracted strong viewership throughout Latin America and Brazil after its Netflix launch in 2016.
Gomorrah (Italy): A gritty Italian crime drama based on the non-fiction expose about the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra. Gomorrah became Sky Atlantic’s most watched series and portrays the brutal power struggles within a fictional Camorra clan.
Babylon Berlin (Germany): This extravagant German period drama is set in 1920s Berlin during the Weimar Republic. It follows a police inspector assigned to Berlin who uncovers crime and corruption in the city. Babylon Berlin recreates the era with high production values and has garnered acclaim in Germany as well as international audiences.