×

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones Talk Brexit as ‘Bandersnatch,’ Working for Netflix

LILLE, France — The battle between the world’s global streaming services will be fought over talent.

Nothing more appropriate then that Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix would use his In Conversation keynote at Series Mania to highlight one of Netflix’s banner talent relationships, with “Black Mirror’s” Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

This was a sometimes laugh-out-loud casting call to anybody in the audience to come to work with Netflix.

Sarandos did talk about Netflix business, announcing that Netflix now has 15 productions in France in various states of production, part of a $1 billion investment in original projects in Europe.

He also reconfirmed Netflix’s larger vision, just as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings did one year before sitting on the same stage at the Lille Transatlantic Dialogues.

“It’s never been our initiative to export Hollywood to the world. Our goal is to bring the greatest storytelling in the world to the world.”

Nor was Sarandos keen on the term disruption.

“It has negative connotations. I think disruption means more like burning things down and seeing what happens, and that’s not what we are up to.”

He added: “You have to realize studios have been making films and series for 100 years. Certain things work and the connections are rooted in tradition and we don’t want to lose those things.”

Netflix wants to “preserve and improve on formats and grow storytelling,” Sarandos observed.

The conversation, however informal, did suggest at least three ways in which Netflix is breaking molds, at least from the viewpoint of Sarandos, Brooker and Jones.

“There is a lot of conventional wisdom in TV about what does and doesn’t travel. In almost every case it’s not true,” said Sarandos.

Then there’s the speed at which Netflix wants to produce. “You feel as if you are working with someone on your production, someone well aware of restrictions, the need for decisions, wanting to get something made as much as you do. The speed with which Netflix responds, it’s ridiculous.”

Netflix will take sometimes large risks, something many traditional broadcasters can’t afford.

“As a commissioner you need a good appetite for risk and stepping into things that haven’t been done before,” said Sarandos, calling “House of Cards” “a big swing from the out of the gate.”

How do you minimize risk? Talent. “The bet was if you picked the right storytellers and worlds and gave them the tools, it would pay off well,” Sarandos said.

“Bandersnatch was “quite a challenge,” said Brooker. “We had a story idea that only worked if it was interactive. There was a part where the character knows they are controlled by the viewer, so there was only the one way.”

More TV

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Picture shows: MAKING OF - Underwater

    Netflix Orders 'Oceans' Natural History Series From 'Blue Planet II' Creator

    Netflix has ordered a multi-part natural history series on the world’s oceans from Freeborne Media, the production outfit of acclaimed natural-history producer James Honeyborne, who created “Blue Planet II.” Each of the series’ episodes will focus on a different ocean, “combining the disciplines of oceanography, geography and earth sciences to experience these characteristics in new [...]

  • 13 REASONS WHY

    Netflix Revises Controversial '13 Reasons Why' Suicide Scene

    Netflix has edited the controversial suicide scene from “Thirteen Reasons Why” two years after the show originally premiered. “We’ve heard from many young people that ’13 Reasons Why’ encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help—often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement Monday. “As we [...]

  • Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and

    Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and Heroic' 'Years and Years' Character

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fourth episode of “Years and Years.” Russell T. Davies’ limited series “Years and Years” began with a birth, but it did not wait until the finale to book-end the story with a death. In the fourth episode of the multi-year spanning family drama, [...]

  • Hugh GRant photographed by Shayan Asgharnia

    Listen: Hugh Grant on Why He Would Kill Social Media if He Could

    Hugh Grant has been very active in U.K. press reform initiatives, but he knows the problem is even bigger than the media moguls who control the world’s major news outlets. That’s why Hacked Off, the campaign he’s involved with, is also expanding its scope to include the impact of online propaganda. “It’s particularly terrifying, the [...]

  • Veronica Mars -- "Heads You Lose"

    TV Review: 'Veronica Mars' Season 4

    “Veronica Mars” was a slap to the face of high school dramas when it premiered on UPN in 2004. Creator Rob Thomas took the well-worn “who killed the pretty teenager?” whodunnit and hard-boiled it, following a traumatized girl desperately trying to harden herself to the world’s harsh realities as she tried to solve the case. [...]

  • Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow

    Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow to Launch New Era at 'CBS Evening News'

    Though Norah O’Donnell had her first turn as anchor of “CBS Evening News” Monday night, she didn’t rely on any attention-grabbing tricks to carry the day. There was no flashy drawing board, no rattling off of unsettling, urgent headlines and no wrap-up of the day with a mawkish end segment calling up some element of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content