The Netflix “Squid Game” is an exception.
Netflix has its biggest hit with “Squid Game,” the bloody dystopian South Korean series that took the world by storm. Over 111 million viewers worldwide have already watched at least two minutes of the show.
Typically, successful series engender envy and anxiety about competition. Netflix outbid HBO for “House of Cards,” a complaint from HBO executives nearly a decade later. But some Netflix competitors are applauding the success of “Squid Game” as it opens the door further to non-U.S. Production, saving media companies tons of money if foreign language television is part of the content regime. of a standard American household. Amazon, Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate’s Starz, and ViacomCBS are all looking around the world for new TV series that will grab the world’s attention.
Hollywood studios are saving millions of dollars by hiring local talent instead of Hollywood stars, collecting tax credits and discounts from starving countries seeking perks in tourism and recognition, and avoiding strict US union regulations, said Ajay Mago, corporate and technology lawyer and managing partner for EM3.
“Different countries have different incentive packages,” Mago said. “Some countries will offer you free marketing through government channels or support at festivals. They may even offer you free local co-producers. “
Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, Austria and Malta, and Canada have a long history of offering significant tax credits and incentives in Hollywood, said Domenic Romano, a lawyer specializing in the field of Hollywood. entertainment and managing partner of Romano Law. But in the past, American productions often used international locations as substitutes for American sets.
“They would come to Canada or some place that had tax incentives, and they would put down American mailboxes and road signs, change the license plates on cars, and voila,” Romano said. “What is happening now is that there is local content from these regions. The studios are no longer being masked. “
American audiences generally viewed foreign language films as niche content. Very few, if any, non-English TV series became part of the mainstream mind before “Squid Game”. Keeping local actors and sets saves a lot on production costs, Romano said. Swapping out expensive Hollywood actors to recreate reboots of hit foreign shows, as has been done in the past, can cost tens of millions of dollars per show, Romano said.