CANNES– Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos discussed the digital service’s recent launch across continental Europe, its landmark deal with Adam Sandler and potential expansion across Asia, during a much-anticipated and meaty keynote address at Mipcom on Tuesday.
“Pretty soon we’ll have only Asia left in terms of expansion,” said Sarandos. “We have a desire to be global, it’s just a matter of timing.”
He also tipped off Mipcom attendees as to which Asian country intrigued him most.
“An interesting thing about Japan is the fact that the largest markets in the world for Japanese animation is Japan, France and America, all the places where we have very big footprints, or we hope to,” he said. “So it will be a very interesting scale play in different parts of the world.”
Added Sarandos, “Australia and New Zealand are also very attractive territories — English-speaking obviously, love U.S. content.”
Sarandos also talked about its one-month-old roll-out across six European territories and gave a brief rundown on the service’s early performance in France and Germany. “We’ve been very encouraged with the viewing hours per subscriber in France and Germany — it’s on par with our successful launches around the world.”
Unsurprisingly, said Sarandos, “‘Orange is the New Black’ is the most-watched show in France and Germany. The show had not been available in those regions.”
The topper claimed Netflix will double the content available in these new markets in the next 12 months.
Netflix recently ordered its first French-language drama series “Marseille” from Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment with Dan Frank (“Carlos”) on board as showrunner. The series will be delivered in late 2015 or early 2016.
“Our initial confidence with doing an original series in France is the large audience that we’ve been able to aggregate around the world for French-language television series like ‘Les Revenants’ (“The Returned”) or ‘Spiral’ which are both very, very popular in the U.S.,” explained Sarandos. “So we’re confident that (“Marseille”) will be widely accepted in France but also we can grow the footprint for that and export the French language and the French culture as well as French storytellers all around the world.”
Sarandos revealed Netflix was also “working with French animation houses for co-productions of original cartoons.”
Commenting on Netflix’ recent move into original feature films, Sarandos said its landmark four-picture deal with Adam Sandler, whom he described as “one of the few movie brands in Hollywood,” was a milestone for Netflix as well as the movie distribution model.
“The Adam Sandler’s movies will go directly on Netflix, we’re not going to open them in theaters anywhere and it’s a big deal because for the last 20 years, Adam Sandler has had a successful movie in theaters every summer. So this is a very innovative step for someone like him who’s a real movie star,” pointed out Sarandos.
Netflix also recently announced its plans to release Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel day-and-date online and in Imax.
Sarandos said the idea behind Netflix’s strategy wasn’t “to kill windowing” but rather “restore choice and options.”
“We’re accelerating the model by putting our money where our mouth is,” argued Sarandos. “We’re acting under a movie distribution model that’s been in place since the beginning of movies on television in the early 70’s.”
Sarandos said one of the first projects developed under the deal with Sandler is well in the works and expects it to come out in early 2016.
The company’s third-quarter financials will be released tomorrow (Oct. 15).