Which American TV Genres Have the Highest Global Demand? | Chart

It’s well known that the United States is the world’s main producer and exporter of TV content, responsible for the majority of hit shows that resonate globally over the last century. However, not every genre on American television brings the same level of popularity around the world as it does in the U.S. Cultural differences make certain genres more appealing to domestic audiences than foreign audiences, while other genres will generate higher demand outside the US.

This article will analyze the demand for the main genres of American TV shows in the U.S. versus internationally. Demand outside the U.S. will be summarized by the travelability index, which measures demand for a show outside its home market compared to domestic demand. Based on this, each genre can fall into one of four categories:

  • High demand in the U.S. and high travelability

  • High demand in the US. and low travelability

  • Low U.S. demand and high travelability

  • Low U.S. demand and low travelability

Unsurprisingly, the most popular TV genres in the U.S. also garnered high levels of international demand. These upper-echelon performers include fantasy, drama, action, science-fiction, and war. War series actually have the highest travelability among U.S. shows, even though it’s not one of the top five genres in demand within the U.S. Shows within this genre — such as Apple TV+’s “Masters of the Air,” Paramount+’s “Halo,” and HBO’s “Band of Brothers” — tend to perform very well outside the U.S. Sports, comedies, horror and children’s shows also elicit high demand in the U.S and abroad.

The high U.S. demand and low travelability quadrant is made up of news and talk-shows, genres that are very specific to U.S. audiences. Understandably, these regionally focused series are not able to replicate their domestic popularity in international markets. Foreign viewers aren’t as invested in American happenings, nor should they be. Elsewhere, thriller is the only genre that showed above-average travelability but below-average U.S. demand. One example is the Apple TV+ series “Constellation,” which showed high demand outside the U.S., according to Parrot Analytics’ Demand 360.

Understanding genre performance domestically and overseas enables programmers to tailor content to specific target audiences and help ensure efficient content allocation. As global platforms such as Netflix and Amazon attempt to program something for everyone across the world while FAST services such as Pluto TV and Tubi embrace a growing emphasis on locality, this understanding can help direct library investments and content strategy.

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