Telecoms & IT

Top 5: Emerging Market TV Production in 2024

Studios and producers in developing economies have turned to pay-to-watch streaming platforms to find an international audience beyond their borders.

Image credit: Shutterstock / miguelca

We have witnessed nothing short of a revolution in the media and broadcasting sector over the last few years.

Platforms have shifted from traditional mediums such as analog and digital television to cloud-native streaming almost everywhere you look.

This change in the technological landscape has also changed the way of doing business in the media industry, allowing new content creators to rise.

The disruptive innovation that is streaming, among other developments, has allowed a new wave of producers in emerging markets to give legacy broadcasters a run for their money.

Here, we will take a look at some of these emerging markets, where producers of new media are turning quite a few heads with their creativity and talent.

Mexico

Mexico has a renowned film industry, dating back to the silent film era.

The cinephiles among us may remember masterpieces such as La Perla (1947), Macario (1960), or more recent titles such as Como Agua Para Chocolate (1992).

For a wider audience, Mexican broadcasters and studios have long produced television series featuring themes such as romance, passion, and crime.

Mexican studios and broadcasters even perfected their own unique genre, the telenovela, which has been entertaining the Spanish-speaking world for decades.

Since the rise of online pay-to-watch services, Mexican productions are finding favor with a wider international audience on US streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime.

It seems that, given the country’s business ties with the US, Mexican studios and production companies prefer to release their new shows to the Spanish-speaking world through well-established American platforms, rather than independently.

Some critics have accused modern Mexican drama series of being superficial and escapist in comparison with the golden age of the Mexican telenovela, but who doesn’t need a little escapism in a world grappling with conflict and economic uncertainty?

India

The Indian film industry, often informally known as Bollywood, dates back to the 1930s, and it has entertained generations of moviegoers across the Indian subcontinent, the Gulf region, and beyond. Indian producers have been quick to adjust themselves to the new realities of the entertainment and media business, embracing streaming from the earliest days of the technology in the mid-2010s.

Indeed, one might say that the streaming revolution is transforming Bollywood.

Deutsche Welle (DW) noted in a 2022 article that particularly after the pandemic, “media streaming channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ Hotstar have seen considerable growth in India and are reshaping the way Bollywood does business.”

The latter name, Disney+ Hotstar, is the most popular subscription video streaming service in India, particularly as it is mostly a local Indian service managed by Disney India in Mumbai.

South Korea
Image credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional

South Korea is not exactly an emerging market, nor is the country a newcomer to the media and entertainment sector. Certain K-Pop stars have achieved worldwide recognition, acting as a kind of cultural ambassadors for their country.

On November 22, 2023, Britain’s King Charles “presented K-Pop band BLACKPINK with honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire medals in the presence of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during his state visit to the United Kingdom,” according to Reuters.

At the same time, the country’s drama industry has reached new heights in terms of attracting a global audience, mostly relying on new media.

The 2021 web series, Squid Game, is a case in point. The South Korean series achieved worldwide popularity and critical acclaim quickly after its release by Netflix.

All this has paved the way for a wider acceptance of cultural exports from South Korea in international markets in a manner which would have been inconceivable even a decade ago.

Türkiye
Image credit: Shutterstock / Bilal Kocabas

We know Türkiye has been an exporter of traditional television series since the early 2000s, but new media and streaming services are also taking root in the country, engaging a regional audience, especially in the Turkic and Arab world.

With the rise of pay-to-watch services, an increasing number of Turkish drama productions are now to be found on streaming platforms, although the country’s traditional broadcasters such as Show TV, Canal D, and Star TV are not out of the game yet.

Although the leading international streaming services are present in Türkiye’s market, the country’s media and entertainment industry has taken a keener interest in fully Turkish streaming platforms.

The Turkish subscription services BluTV and Exxen currently have the upper hand in the sector, while Netflix and Apple TV+ also have a minority market share.

Brazil

Brazil is another major exporter of television series in Latin America.

Due to language differences, Brazil’s cultural exports do not enjoy a readymade market in the largely Spanish-speaking Latin America, but they are well received in the Portuguese-speaking world, from Portugal to Angola.

To name but one example among many, Verdades Secretas (2015-2021), featured the fictional exploits of an aspiring supermodel in Brazil’s modeling agencies though she soon found herself in other affairs—a plot that found favor with viewers from Latin America to Europe and Africa.

In 2023, TV shows such as DNA do Crime are topping the charts, hoping to go beyond the borders of Brazil.

And indeed, streaming is helping Brazilian productions find an international viewership. The dystopian thriller, Three Percent (2016-2020), was the first Brazilian show to be released on Netflix, and it was appreciated beyond the Portuguese-speaking world. Since then, more cultural products from Brazil have gone international.

Meanwhile, Claro TV+, the first major Brazilian streaming service, has introduced several cloud-native broadcasting systems across Latin America, hoping to gather a greater regional subscription base.

Final note:

It is certain that pay-to-watch streaming platforms are now the only gateway for studios and producers to present their media exports to the world. What is not certain is whether it is better to go for well-established American platforms or to choose local alternatives, as mentioned earlier in the case of Türkiye, Brazil, and—to some extent—India, which have a regional reach.