With the North American market’s high saturation rate of streaming providers, churn rates are reaching alarming levels across all generations – especially Millennials and Gen Z. Entertainment providers have had to solidify their presence in other countries or start expanding into more global markets.

Tapping into new markets brings complexities that all companies expect, but often have difficulty navigating. Product teams responsible for global streaming content face mounting pressure to deliver quality, quick-turnaround, multilingual creative to drive international engagement. 

Marketing teams responsible for driving local interest in their streaming service (plus its movies and series) have to contend with local unique platforms, cultural nuance, and even regulations on what they can and cannot use in their creative.

Marketing localization is key to both bringing in new users and reducing churn. Increasing competition in the international streaming services space makes the importance of an authentic and engaging experience all the more crucial to driving these critical KPIs. 

Here are the top challenges international streaming services face in acquiring local users – and keeping them.


Taking content catalogs into a new market is a huge effort. From new languages to local consumer preferences, every market launch comes with new roadblocks, challenges, and bottlenecks. And existing localization processes often aren’t set up to overcome them. Internal production teams often scramble to adapt without missing key milestones.

Localization often sits near the end of a go-to-market model. So any upstream delays have to be made up by global content teams. And they still have to handle unexpected issues and produce localized creative that wows local audiences, but in a time crunch.

With tight turnarounds, connecting the dots between localization partners (both in-house and external) and multiple creative agencies is a lot to manage. Often by necessity, localization efficiency (volume + speed) is prioritized over effectiveness (engagement + ROI). While this helps meet short-term goals in producing localized content at volume, it often comes at the expense of customer experience. And this, in turn, can undermine long-term success in that market, especially if competitors already have a foothold.


International streaming services often rely on bespoke processes and tech for managing and localizing international creative. With multiple internal stakeholders owning different content categories, production managers are frequently working independently against tight timelines to meet their specific content needs.

This can result in production chaos across the organization. Turnaround times, creative and linguistic resourcing, file transfers, email request submissions, creative briefs, and text/description information – all are usually handled in different ways on different teams. But as localization needs expand across streaming service platforms, these disparate manual processes aren’t just inefficient. They also introduce errors that can be detrimental to meeting launch deadlines and delivering on user expectations.

It’s hard to optimize and scale creative production models to incorporate multilingual content that meets the same quality UX standards as domestic content. To do it well, creative talent should be combined with streamlined processes. And software/tools must be customized to support those needs across the wide range of content assets involved.


When production managers need to create localized visuals, they often rely on the domestic agencies that produced their domestic visuals. 

But domestic agencies can’t deliver on international creative. Their limited in-house resources make it hard to scale. And their lack of language and cultural expertise leads to designs that miss the mark with in-country audiences.

Visual experience expectations and trends vary considerably from market to market. Simply adapting cover art or an ad designed for the US market can result in dilution (or loss) of the creative intent and story, and in mistreatment of key linguistic elements. When this happens, brand sentiment and user engagement suffer. And multiple rounds of revisions in the design process to address quality issues become the norm. This ends up costing international streaming service companies time and money.

Quality missteps that come from working with US resources can turn away users in key growth markets. All while putting production managers under considerable stress to meet international market launch and content update needs. 

Whether manual or automated, in-house or agency-provided, the traditional “English-to-many” translation focus may pump out multilingual designs. But it doesn’t address locale-specific creative nuance in increasingly competitive markets. This ultimately leads to high churn rates  and fewer new subscribers.


First, the good news. A large percentage of the globe uses US-based search engines and social media platforms. This means there are ways to streamline your organic and paid media strategies when entering or expanding into new markets.

Now, the bad news. For the sake of simplicity and scale, it may be tempting to extend English-only, domestic campaigns to the rest of the globe. Don’t do this. You’ll run into performance issues quickly – especially when it comes to cultural phenomena like trending series or movies.

As for Google Ads, agencies will often recommend translating domestic keywords to target users with placements across Google’s SERP, Google Display Network, and YouTube. While seemingly logical, translating keywords will miss out on the lionshare of relevant traffic, and placements across YouTube, especially when it comes to something as nuanced as pop culture. To execute profitable paid search campaigns, it’s critical to perform in-market, in-language keyword research to capture how the market is actually performing searches around terms that are relevant to your platform, series, or films.

Going beyond search, getting curious about where your target audience is spending time on the web will provide valuable opportunities for your test budget within your overarching paid media spend. Is there a horror blog with a tremendous following in your target market? How about a forum where people discuss new releases on streaming platforms? Those true-to-market native placements can add that extra flair to put your new release over the top.


It’s crucial – no matter what challenges a streaming brand faces – to deliver an excellent experience, both before and after customer acquisition. If a company’s global ambition outpaces its ability to deliver on in-market quality, the damage to the brand in that market can be irreversible.

The streaming industry moves fast. To keep up with demand across locales, international teams need to mobilize people, processes, and technology, ensuring that localized creative is effective in meeting global business, growth, and UX goals.

There is no out-of-the-box solution for localizing creative at the scale and quality international streaming companies need. But with the right tools and partners in place, they can find the sweet spot where budget, turnaround, and international engagement align – for every market, and for every launch.

Struggling to find a creative localization partner that can keep up with your growth goals? Or need advice on optimizing your media production workflow? Get in touch – we’d love to help.