Netflix’s Sarandos: ‘We Get Shock-and-Awe Viewing’ for Big-Budget Originals

Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos hit back at comments by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who complained that Netflix was spending far more on programming than TV networks that must keep on an eye on the bottom line.

Landgraf, last week at the Television Critics Association tour, said FX had pursued Aziz Ansari’s comedy “Master of None” and British royals historical drama “The Crown” but lost out to Netflix. “In both cases they overwhelmed us with shock-and-awe levels of money and commitment,” he said.

Sarandos responded Tuesday, first by thanking Landgraf “for endorsing our spending to talent.”

“The only reason we can… in John’s own words, have ‘shock and awe’ spending for a series is because we get shock-and-awe viewing on that series,” Sarandos said on the Netflix earnings call Tuesday.

Netflix’s spending on original content is more efficient than on licensed shows, Sarandos reiterated, meaning the originals are watched significantly more per dollar spent.

“Overspending is relative,” added Sarandos. He said that if relatively expensive shows like Baz Luhrmann’s “The Get Down” and “The Crown” are successful “it’s money well-spent, the way it was for ‘House of Cards” and ‘Orange is the New Black.'”

In 2016, Netflix expects to launch 600 hours of original programming, compared with 450 hours in 2015.

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