Netflix – Executive Session
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix
By Valerie Milano
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/29/16 – Netflix started out life as a video rental service that steamrolled the brick and mortar industry by establishing a business model using the U.S. Postal Service as it’s ‘delivery’ medium. It’s since morphed into a supersized media monster that has exploited digital technology to export content around the globe. Netflix shattered programming orthodoxy by rolling out a line of originally scripted shows that continue to dazzle in sheer volume and variety. Traditional broadcast media continues to cower in the shadows while simultaneously feeding it’s tormentor with licensed content; most recently, the new CBS Star Trek series. Netflix still don’t need no stinkin’ ratings service and revenues continue to spike despite a statistical dip in their subscriber base.
Chief Content Officer TED SARANDOS took spoke to TCA and The Hollywood Times and took his annual victory lap, extoling the growth of Netflix and its continued domination of the global media market. He exhibited saintly patience when fielding questions from old school Television scribes still tracking the worthless currency of Nielsen overnights.
Sarandos began with a macro overview:
Ted Sarandos: “We launched in 130 countries in January, adding to the 60 countries we were already operating. There isn’t much history to judge what a global Internet TV network looks like, but you are seeing one being built in real time.”
Sarandos tried to preempt the TCA on the subject of ratings:
Ted Sarandos; “Since you’re, no doubt, going to ask anyway, let’s talk a little bit about ratings. In recent months, two companies have come forth to claim that they track Netflix ratings in such a dependable way that their data is worth paying for. Both Nielsen and Symphony claim accuracy, but one of them reported the viewing of Season 4 of Orange is the New Black to be 2x what the other reported. So ratings and reporting on ratings is an essential piece of the business puzzle for ad supported networks, for sure. But subscriber growth, not advertising, drives our revenues. The focus of the ratings companies has really no relevance for us.”
Besides global reach and rising revenue, Netflix is warehousing an impressive amount of critical hardware:
Ted Sarandos: “Seventeen of our original series, documentaries, films, and comedy specials received 54 Emmy nominations this year, up from 34 last year. Netflix had the largest increase of Emmy nominations of all networks. Earlier this year 9 of our original kids’ series received 32 daytime Emmy nominations, up from 18 the previous year.”
The kiddie market; often ignored by a Broadcast industry in relentless persuit of the 18-45 demo, is also getting gobbled up by Netflix:
Ted Sarandos: “When we last met in January, I told you that we were going to double down on our offering for kids and family and that, by the end of 2016, we would have launched 40 original series for kids of all ages. Early next year we’re going to debut Julie’s Greenroom, starring and produced by the legendary Julie Andrews. Later today you’re going to meet the Beat Bugs creator Josh Wakely, and you can ask him yourself how he was able to do the near impossible: to get the rights to the Beatles music library to make a TV show for kids. Beat Bugs premieres on August 3rd, and I’m happy to announce a second season of “Beat Bugs” will arrive shortly thereafter, on November 18. Josh’s vision for kids’ programming blends incredible music and meaningful life lessons. That’s why we’re delighted that he is also teaming up with Smokey Robinson to create an all new Netflix animated series for families that brings to life 52 iconic Motown songs. Contemporary artists, curated by Smokey Robinson himself, will perform hits from greats like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Lionel Richie.”
Besides killing it with originally scripted content like the world beating “OITNB” Netflix is cherry picking some top tier Broadcast series for the world market:
Ted Sarandos: “I wanted to touch briefly on some of our licensing agreements that we’ve completed to bring high quality shows to our members around the world. We’ve extended our agreement with The CW, making Netflix the continued exclusive SVOD home for prior seasons of the CW shows in the U.S. Next year Netflix will be the exclusive home for the new Star Trek series from CBS outside of the U.S. and Canada, with new episodes arriving in 188 countries within 24 hours of the North American premiere, and only on Netflix. Additionally, we have our first global agreement with 20th Century Fox Television. Starting next year, Netflix will be the exclusive global streaming home for the hit FX series American Crime Story everywhere except for Canada.”
Netflix will wind up 2016 with a promising new slate of shows that include the stylish creepfest Stranger Things, period epic The Crown and rap drama The Get Down.
The rich should finish out 2016 a little bit richer.