Tapping into the Expat pay-TV Community


Living in any community as an expat can often be challenging until you find your feet. Ask any expat what they miss most about home and TV will sit high atop their list, although they may not admit it at first. For many, TV is a source of comfort, and for expats, it can bring about feelings of nostalgia over their home language, culture and characters that they may have grown up watching. There are many expat channels such as RTE for the Irish or our client JSTV who are the one and only Japanese satellite channel in Europe, Middle-east, Russia and North Africa and deliver a wide range of Japanese TV programs 24/7 they have worked hard to ensure their viewers are engaged with their OTT content over the years.


Geo-blocking – Unfortunately, many expats who have tried to stream video from another country, have seen this notice: “This content is not available in your location.” As an operator, you want to offer your content to expats, but legal and licensing limitations can prevent streaming it across borders. Consequently, “geo-blocking” is used to prevent people in one country from accessing content in another.

Privacy – Some Tech-savvy expats have long been able to circumvent geo-blocking by masking their IP address behind a virtual private network (VPN). This is something Netflix currently have to deal with on their platform.

Language – Another large barrier for many expats to overcome is language. For example, in the MENA market, there is a large western community and although there are 1000s of free to air TV channels, these are mainly in Arabic. There is a growing need to cater to those that speak English. There is a market for paid content that meets the needs of the expat community.

Creating a solution

Today, more and more broadcasters are realising how important it is for people to find their ‘local’ television in whatever country they are currently living in. Whether it’s top series and entertainment, sports, music, movies, kid’s programs, documentaries, news, shopping, travel, cooking channels and more, expats all over the world are yearning to be able to watch what they want, when they want it, in any country. Although many expats will be reluctant to admit it, being able to watch familiar television programmes from their home country makes for a happier expat.

So how can operators best serve the expat community? First, operators must meet growing demand for expat TV. Whether it’s an extra channel on linear TV or a pay-TV channel or via OTT, TV providers must provide a better option for expats who want to access channels from their home country, easily and lawfully. They need to find you and your content. This happens by building awareness and driving customer acquisition in the expat segment. In our experience, this is a huge market opportunity for any pay-TV business. Operators looking to tap into this market should focus on competing on content, breadth of service and price – which all drive the customer to abandon loyalty and chase the best deal or whoever is providing their ‘home’ TV programmes. By offering great subscription packages, compelling introductory offers and timely engagement, operators can tap into lucrative new markets within the expat community.

Second, operators need to help expats consume the content they want to watch when they want to watch it. Create a great experience during the first 90 days of a subscription is essential by proactively engaging a subscriber, getting them familiar with their expat TV service, billing them properly and encouraging as much content consumption as possible.

Reaping the rewards

Many USA specific content is available on OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as broadcasters and content creators are selling their content to these platforms that have a global reach. TV providers are finding that they have a very different market than they originally thought possible. For example, Dramafever owned by Warner Brothers was originally aimed at expats from Korea. However, thanks to subtitles and shifting marketing to US consumers, the show was found and discovered by an untapped US audience and they are now offering on-demand streaming video of documentaries, movies, and TV shows with subtitles. We now live in a global society; therefore, it’s important for operators to deliver content to people wherever they are in the world.

In an effort to ensure potential expat subscribers find and consume your service, we can help you to enhance your brand awareness programmes with targeted tactical acquisition, and direct and easy sign-up processes to make sure you convert viewers to customers. We can also help advise which trial offers work better and how to move customers from trial to fully paid subscribers.

By partnering with Paywizard, you’ll benefit from 18 years of subscription-based business experience and a platform built on the job. We’ve helped more than 100 pay-TV operators to deliver personalised customer experiences. By having a unique range of partnerships and integrations with leading products and services, all parties benefit and your customers receive the best of both worlds. And let’s not forget, it’s all about the customer.

Once they’ve found you what’s next – the time is ticking for you to turn your viewers into loyal subscribers. Learn more by checking out our new white paper.