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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Efforts to dethrone Netflix abroad are underway, as more money pours into upstarts looking to compete locally against the streaming giant.

Why it matters: Netflix's user base is nearing saturation in the U.S., so it needs to continue growing abroad if it ever wants a chance at profitability.

The big picture: Around the world, companies are teaming up to create rival streaming services to compete with Netflix, and are withholding their top content for their own efforts.

  • Iflix, a Malaysia-based streaming video subscription service focused on Southeast Asia and the Middle East, raised over $50 million in what it refers to as pre-IPO funding, Axios' Dan Primack reports.
  • BritBox — a streaming service from British broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4 — is finally arriving in the U.K. for £5.99 ($7.50) a month, after first launching in North America.
  • Salto, a streaming service from French broadcasters France Télévisions, M6 and TF1, launched last year to prevent French content from being at the mercy of a U.S. tech company. The broadcasters began yanking their content away from Netflix in favor of their own service in January.

Yes, but: Analysts mostly agree that the streaming giant is so far ahead of the competition that it will be tough to stop it from continuing to add subscribers overseas — even though its earnings report last week suggestedotherwise.

  • Domestic competitors that will eventually look to launch overseas — like Disney+ — aren't set to launch globally for at least another year.
  • In some markets, like Japan, Netflix's investments in localized content are paying off, and are beginning to eat market share.
  • As The Hollywood reporter notes, several markets have seen would-be competitors try and ultimately fail to compete with Netflix.

Between the lines: Analysts don't foresee Netflix's footprint growing that much bigger in some of its biggest international markets.

  • The streamer currently has roughly 150 million subscribers, with about 90 million coming from about 190 markets overseas.
  • Most of its overseas subscribers are likely consolidated into a handful of bigger markets — Canada, the UK, Brazil, Japan, and Australia — and those markets aren't poised to grow that much more, says Michael Pachter, a research analyst at Wedbush Securities.

What's next: The next big battleground for Netflix is India, one of the fastest-growing streaming markets.

  • The big question for Netflix will be whether it's able to capture Indian users, with a cheap, "lite" mobile versions of its app.
  • "Netflix 'lite' is a land grab, pure and simple," says Pachter. "I cannot conceive that they will be profitable at $3 per month in India, but it gives them a giant head start."
  • Netflix is also hoping that reduced pricing options, along with a heavier investment in localized Indian content, will lure subscribers from Amazon and Disney-owned HotStar.

The bottom line: "These localized players reflect modest and isolated competition and almost always ends up being a partner outside their home market (or core content window), says Matthew Ball, former head of strategy at Amazon Studios.

Go deeper: Netflix's reliance on big hits will be a hurdle for future growth

Go deeper

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about the Russia investigation that led to the impeachment trial of former President Trump — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.

Updated 40 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

1 hour ago - Health

COVID-19 pandemic was "preventable disaster," WHO-commissioned report says

A health worker gives a COVID-19 test to a woman in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

The COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster" that exposed weak links "at every point" of the preparedness process, according to a World Health Organization-commissioned report published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response criticized governments worldwide for being unprepared for the pandemic despite the prevalence of past "global health threats," such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks.