It has now been over 6 years since Netflix released its first original series–House of Cards–accelerating a trend of consolidation between content generation and content distribution within the entertainment industry. Since then, Netflix and fellow newcomer Amazon Studios have rocketed to the top of the entertainment industry. Despite their increasing number of original series, and the many accolades those series have won, Netflix and Amazon still lag behind their more established peers Disney and Comcast in terms of absolute numbers of employees in content generating positions.
However, though they may still be behind in absolute terms, hiring rates for content producers at Netflix and Amazon are far above their peers peers–especially in the case of Netflix, which has a significant lead even over its Seattle-based rival.
Though Netflix got its start in the United States, its business relies increasingly on international customers. Last year, the number of new subscribers added internationally greatly outpaced those added within the United States, and the company grew its international revenues by nearly 50%. Customers outside the US now account for just under half of Netflix’s total revenues. In a letter to shareholders accompanying the firm’s FY18 results, the company acknowledged that continued international expansion will not come without challenges, specifically referring to differing regulations and the need to cater content to audiences in various countries worldwide.
In that same letter, the company claims that it is “making significant investments in productions all over the world.” However, data gathered from online career profiles does not yet suggest that the company has drastically changed the geographic profile of its workforce. While employee counts have increased by over 50% in certain regions outside North America, in absolute terms, Netflix’s workforce continues to be highly concentrated within the United States.
These numbers beg the question–can Netflix continue its impressive overseas expansion without putting people on the ground in those markets?