Revenue from Netflix’s in-app subscription purchases hit close to $120m this quarter, which blows the competition’s mobile apps out of the water (HBO NOW and Hulu each did $23.7m and $19.4m in Q1 2017, respectively).
Compare that to this time last year when the brands’ revenues were in the same ballpark (Netflix and HBO’s apps each did just under $40m in revenue in Q1 2016), and you’ll see Netflix has nearly tripled its top line while everyone else deconstructed Game of Thrones trailers.
What’s their special sauce, you ask?
Global programming. They’ve been servin’ up sizzling entrees of international-friendly content like The Crown (about Queen Liz) and Narcos (a drama in which the Colombian characters actually speak Spanish).
Netflix also provides free servers to ISPs (internet service providers) worldwide to relieve the strain of the extra streaming data and provide service to users in area areas with limited internet bandwidth.
And people are eating it up
Almost 50% of their audience now comes from outside the US, and according to a recent company blog, soon English won’t even be their dominant viewing language.
All this from a platform that expanded from 3 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese) to over 20 in just 5 years.
Eso es loco (that’s crazy)
But, with more subtitles, comes more responsibility — and a lot more chances to screw up. Netflix currently works with thousands of linguists to translate their shows, but their subtitle track record hasn’t exactly been spotless.
Frustrated users on blogs and Reddit forums continue to call them out for nonsense or half*ssed subtitles, and Netflix is finally taking ownership.
On Friday, they rolled out a standardized test, called “HERMES,” that all translators must pass, to make sure nothing gets lost… in translation. And if they can nail this, it’s looking like smooth snailing from here.