×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix to Order African Original Series in 2019

Netflix plans to order original series from Africa next year, on top of the shows it’s already producing in Europe, Asia and Latin America, said Erik Barmack, the streaming giant’s vice president of international originals.

Netflix’s Europe team is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in…2019,” Barmack said at the Content London conference this week.

The move is in line with Netflix’s global ambitions and with Barmack’s own prediction that the balance of power in terms of the world’s most-watched shows will soon swing from U.S. to international fare. “There’s going to come a time when half of the top 10 of most-watched shows in a given year are going to come from outside of the U.S.,” Barmack said. “I don’t think that’s very actually far away. I think that’s going to come in years, not decades.”

He added that “shows with multinational casts will become the norm.”

Netflix is launching six new European shows in the next three weeks and at Content London unveiled a new period drama set during the French Revolution and a “Young Wallander” series. Barmack told the Financial Times that the company would increase Europe-originated fare by a third in 2019.

The streamer is also looking closely at the Arabic-speaking market and has set “Jinn” as its first Arabic-language show. “There’s 500 million people around the world who speak Arabic, and there’s a real opportunity to put different faces and a different type of programming [together] to get away from the traditional Ramadan shows, for example,” Barmack said at the London gathering.

More and more Netflix subscribers are watching non-English-language fare every month, he said. For talent, that means it will no longer be necessary to relocate to Hollywood to become a breakout star in a globalized TV world.

“The big message we want to communicate to talent is you don’t have to leave home to get big audiences, and you don’t have to choose Hollywood versus your own country,” Barmack told a room packed with content makers and sellers. “You can do both, and that, we believe, will be able to carry their audiences to their shows regardless of the language they are speaking or where the production comes from.”

He also had encouraging words for European producers. “There is so much interest in the storytelling here that if you have multiple choices from platforms, that’s a great place to be,” he said. “If you are a producer with an exciting project, this is a great moment in television history for you.”

Netflix’s demand for global rights has shaken up the production and distribution business, but is key to its strategy and success, Barmack said. He showed the audience Twitter and Instagram statistics illustrating the huge social media traction that the stars of Netflix’s series get worldwide.

“We’re able to release shows in fairly consistent windows around the world, and what that means is our members are able to participate in social conversations all at the same time, which is spurring interest in these shows,” he said. “We’ve seen a huge advantage to having global distribution, mostly because it gives the show the best chance of success – that everyone is talking about the show at the same time.”

More TV

  • Weather Channel Returns to Verizon Fios

    Weather Channel Returns to Verizon Fios Lineup After Four Years

    The Weather Channel cabler will return to the lineup of Verizon Fios next week after a four-year absence. Weather Channel, now owned by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, was dropped by Verizon Fios in March 2015. Weather Channel had been a staple of the cable TV bundle since its launch in 1982, but in recent years [...]

  • jesse-tyler-ferguson

    Jesse Tyler Ferguson Will Host HGTV's 'Extreme Makeover' Revival (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a home-improvement expert to restart “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the actor best known for his turn as Mitchell Pritchett in the popular sitcom “Modern Family,’ will host HGTV’s ten-episode remodel of the popular home-improvement series, in which families and communities in need of help are given a massive reworking [...]

  • Prince Albert II of Monaco and

    Patricia Arquette's 'Escape at Dannemora' Wins at Monte Carlo TV Festival

    Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” won the Crystal Nymph in the limited series and TV movie section of the 59th edition of the Monte Carlo Television Festival on Tuesday. The ceremony was attended by Michael Douglas, who received a lifetime achievement award from Prince Albert of Monaco. “Escape at Dannemora’s” Patricia Arquette, playing a female prison [...]

  • Don Lemon Power of Pride

    Don Lemon, CNN’s ‘Unicorn,’ on Facing Racism and Homophobia

    “Am I tired?” Don Lemon asks himself. “Sometimes, but it’s a day to day thing. Am I weary? Yes. I am. I have to be honest with you. It’s a lot.” Lemon, a CNN anchor on the air nightly at ten, would seem from some angles like someone who should be celebrating. For one thing, [...]

  • Asia Kate Dillon

    From 'Billions' to 'John Wick 3,' Asia Kate Dillon Makes Hollywood Theirs

    Who would have guessed that “Billions,” a cutthroat and hedonistic look at Wall Street hedge fund magnates and the politicians gunning for them, would deliver a groundbreaking representation of gender non-binary identities? Certainly not Asia Kate Dillon, who portrays non-binary investment wunderkind Taylor Mason on the Showtime series and also identifies as non-binary off-screen. The [...]

  • Janet Mock photographed for Variety on

    Janet Mock Signs Landmark Overall Netflix Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Janet Mock is making history. The “Pose” director, producer and writer has signed a sweeping deal at Netflix, making her the first out transgender woman empowered to call the creative shots at a major content company. The three-year multimillion-dollar pact gives the streaming giant exclusive rights to her TV series and a first-look option on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content