Has Netflix US lost its king of the countries crown?
Is Netflix US still the most revered catalog, as it has been seen to be throughout the past decade? Well, it’s hard to say. There are plenty of conflicting data from all sorts of different entities.
For quite some time the catalog of programs available in the USA outperformed every other country by a mile. Now, with the brand’s global popularity growing each year, it’s not as cut-and-dry a picture as it once was.
Who’s got all the content?
The geeks here at StreamLocator tracked down a couple of clever websites that use APIs to scour the multitude of international Netflix catalogs. These sites are invaluable sources to provide some fascinating, and often surprising, content comparisons.
At the time of writing, it appears Netflix US isn’t the strongest contender, after all.
Quantity over quality
We can’t speak for programming quality, you might have to check out Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb for that, but when it comes to how much choice viewers have, the US doesn’t seem to be the top of the crop after all.
We’re going to take a look at the difference between Netflix US vs UK, and see which programs you can and can’t watch. If you don’t want to miss out on what isn’t available to you, we’re also going to talk about how to get around the problem.
The variation of Netflix viewing from country to country
The main difference in numbers is down to the channels that create the shows and how they distribute the rights to view them.
The issues with viewing rights
For example, if a provider wants to keep a show or movie exclusive to its own channels in their country, they might put such a high price tag on the rights to another provider that it becomes unaffordable.
If an alternate provider, from another country, wants to be the sole exclusive channel or service to show it where they are, then they’ll have to pay a premium, but sole rights they’ll have. Alternatively, they might simply reject all advances to keep the show for their own subscribers and viewers.
You can see, now, how geographical and service viewing rights can be and what makes the viewing wars between providers so competitive.
And when you bring foreign-language programming into the mix…
Also, making a difference to the catalog figures, there’s the country-specific programming. Foreign language programs will create a far more significant part of the catalogue in their native language countries. Indian movie culture plays a big part in their more unique and specific range of titles, as will French or German-speaking content.
The largest Netflix catalogues by country
According to uNoGS.com (unofficial Netflix online Global Search), one of their key lists provides figures of each country’s complete catalog.
Ingeniously, they provide information about new content that became available over the previous 7 days.
They also show all of the titles that are about to expire. If you suffer from FOMO, you need to head over there right away to see which shows are about to disappear!
This list shows 10 of the largest current Netflix catalogs from around the world, at the time of writing.
- United Kingdom
Total 6214 | Movies 4130 | TV Shows 2084
Total 6068 | Movies 4179 | TV Shows 1889
- United States
Total 5906 | Movies 3949 | TV Shows 1957
Total 5811 | Movies 3757 | TV Shows 2054
Total 5798 | Movies 3878 | TV Shows 1920
- Czech Republic
Total 5752 | Movies 3840 | TV Shows 1912
Total 5727 | Movies 2750 | TV Shows 1977
Total 5695 | Movies 3786 | TV Shows 1909
- South Africa
Total 5516 | Movies 3564 | TV Shows 1952
Total 5338 | Movies 3463 | TV Shows 1875
Content exclusive to Netflix US
Although finding a direct Netflix US catalog vs UK comparison is quite tricky at the moment, a few services are running APIs that provide a good deal of useful information.
According to Flixwatch (who run a regular search using another great API), there are currently 328 exclusive movies and TV shows available to viewers in the US that aren’t available to viewers in any other country.
The following list shows the titles on the first of 11 pages in total.
- Okko’s Inn (Waka okami wa shogakusei!)
- Pokemon Journeys: The Series
- Mirai (Mirai no Mirai)
- Juwanna Mann
- Bad News Bears
- Lust, Caution (Se, jie)
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
- The Car
- All Dogs Go To Heaven
- Norm of the North: Family Vacation
- I Will Follow
- Session 9
- Jarhead 2:Field of Fire
- For Colored Girls
- Urban Cowboy
- Get on the Bus
- Hangar 1: The UFO Files
- WWII: Lost Films
- The Universe: Ancient Mysteries Solved
- Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact
- For Love or Money (The Concierge)
- Married at First Sight
- Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning
- School Daze
- Indian Horse
Content exclusive to Netflix UK & Ireland
Keeping with Flixwatch, there are 392 exclusive movies and TV shows available to viewers in the UK and Ireland that aren’t available to viewers in any other country.
The following list shows the titles on the first of 14 pages of the Netflix shows exclusive to UK audiences.
- Fierce Creatures
- Guest House Paradiso
- Mikybo & Me
- Waist Deep
- War Games
- Cry Baby
- Wild at Heart
- The Man Who Cried
- Adult Life Skills
- Mouse Hunt
- Road to Ninja: Naruto The Movie
- The Sun Is Also A Star
- John Robins: The Darkness of Robins
- The Press
- Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes
- Brexit: The Uncivil War
- Welcome to Mercy
- David Beckham: For the Love of the Game
- Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know
- Nelly and Nora
- The Last Post
- Life on Mars (UK)
- The Vicar of Dibley
Content that isn’t currently available on Netflix UK
Checking out the facts and figures from mFlix, we found 50 titles that were missing from the UK catalog, but available in other countries.
What mFlix does, and this is great for viewers desperate to watch the unavailable programs, is to provide a list of the Netflix countries where you can watch the missing shows and movies.
For example, you might not be able to watch Shawshank Redemption in the UK, but you can watch it in 16 other countries, including the US, France, Germany and Australia.
Here are the top 25 currently unavailable shows and movies in the UK, by popularity.
- Shawshank Redemption
- The Dark Knight
- Pulp Fiction
- Forrest Gump
- Lord of the Rings
- The Dark Knight Rises
- Django Unchained
- Batman Begins
- Saving Private Ryan
- The Departed
- The Prestige
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- The Green Mile
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- American History X
- V For Vendetta
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
How can you watch Netflix US from the UK?
If you’re desperate to see any of the unique viewing offered by Netflix US that isn’t available in the UK, there are a few ways to get around the geo-location blocks.
Your Netflix account is a free pass to any country’s catalog
One of the advantages of owning any Netflix subscription is that it’ll allow you to view whichever country’s catalog you’re located in. So if you have a UK subscription, yet you’re visiting the USA, you can access all of the US content while you’re in the country.
If you want to watch the US content from the UK, however, you’ll need a way to bypass their geo-blocking technology.
Unblocking the location issue
You can choose between installing a VPN or setting up a Smart DNS service on your device, providing Netflix servers with a virtual location in America.
Even better still, sign up to StreamLocator and have the location issue sorted at your router. This means you can access any overseas streaming service without having to install anything at all on your phone, your computer, your games console or anything else—it even works with your Smart TVs.
Given Canada appeared to hold the most titles last year, it’s surprising to see the UK take the lead in the catalog-count contest right now.
It’s been a peculiar year for everyone given the Coronavirus situation—one that has helped boost subscription figures for all of the streaming services. Netflix, in particular, has seen a huge increase in subscribers to their platform. The UKs weather could well play a big part in their relationship with their TVs growing, and the reason Netflix UK could afford to throw more content at its subscribers.
But, who knows the real reason? My guess is only Netflix itself. Whatever it is though, it’ll be interesting to see if the UK retains its numbers to stay in the top spot. As far as the US Netflix vs UK battle goes? Watch this space for updates.