×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Says ‘The Crown’ Produced on Scale Networks Can’t ‘Step Up To’

Netflix’s push into original content continues to increase significantly, with the video-streaming giant aiming to have its own films and TV series account for half its catalog within the next few years, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said Tuesday.

To that end, Netflix will spend more of its massive $6 billion program budget on glossy high-end television dramas and on unscripted series, a new area for a company that four years ago had no original shows. “This year we had 17 different shows nominated for 54 Emmy Awards, and the only way you can work that way is to build up the same premise we built Netflix on, to work with creative” people, Sarandos said.

Netflix’s deep pockets enable it to invest in “brand-defining, tentpole shows,” Sarandos said, such as the upcoming British royalty series, “The Crown,” which Sarandos said “is produced to a scale that I don’t think many networks could step up to. Because our audience is large and global and the story is incredibly local we can invest heavily in a project like that. ‘The Get Down’ was an expensive show, and Baz Luhrmann’s films happen to work all over the world, which is great.”

The Crown” is reportedly costing Netflix more than $100 million. While those kinds of figures can be eye-popping, Sarandos said such investment was often more cost-effective given the costs and complications of acquisitions and licensing, and because original offerings draw more viewers than recycled content. Increased original content is valuable “in terms of distinguishing Netflix as a destination rather than another outlet for carrying,” he said.

Sarandos spoke at a question-and-answer session at the Royal Television Society Conference in London, an annual event that this year focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new streaming culture.

He said Netflix’s foray into original films is in recognition of the fact that its catalog consists of “old” titles long past their theatrical release dates, and that one-third of watching on Netflix is still directed at movies.

“We’re investing in film so that we can more aggressively give the consumers what they are telling us they want,” which is new content, Sarandos said. While that could involve a simultaneous theatrical and VOD release, “in some cases we will say they will be on Netflix instead of in theaters.”

That strategy, however, has not endeared Netflix to the many filmmakers who still want to see their works shown in cinemas. In France, for example, some filmmakers have expressed a preference for working with Amazon instead of Netflix because Amazon still commits to theatrical releases.

There have also been reports of unwanted interference by Netflix in the creative process and a high-handed attitude toward producers. But Sarandos dismissed those alleged complaints.

“Our creative involvement in the shows is collaborative and always invited,” he said.

“We don’t impose ourselves on the process,” he added. “I’m not going to give creative notes to [‘Crown’ creator] Peter Morgan. I’m not going to do it.”

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content