×

Netflix Eyes More Italian Productions

Since Netflix entered the Italian market in 2015, it’s steadily gained ground in terms of subscriptions, which are expected to reach 2 million by the end of 2019, according to independent analyst Ovum. The streaming giant recently announced a €200 million ($222 million) investment in Italian original productions over the next three years. Variety spoke to Felipe Tewes, director of international originals at Netflix, about how the country compares with other European territories.

Is Netflix’s investment in Italy likely to grow going forward?

Since our arrival in Italy over three years ago, we have invested significantly in local TV productions, with shows such as “Suburra: The Series” and “Baby,” and in bringing Italian films such as “Sulla Mia Pelle” (On My Skin) and “Lo Spietato” (The Ruthless) to the world. … Our investment announcement is a clear sign of our strong commitment to the Italian creative community, and our desire to continue bringing local, made in Italy stories to a global audience. We already have several creative TV projects in the pipeline and my colleagues who focus on films are making a concerted effort to invest in more local film productions. We are all always considering new local projects, both on the TV and film front. Historically, one country and language has dominated the global entertainment culture, but we see that shifting, and our efforts in Italy are a key piece of the overall Netflix commitment to bringing great stories from across the world to the world.

How does the investment, and also the scope, of Netflix’s TV production activity in Italy compare with other European territories?

We are passionate about working more and more with Italian creators. We are finding very exciting visions and projects as we speak with producers and storytellers in Italy, and so far the great responses to “Baby” and “Suburra: The Series” only confirm the potential for … made in Italy shows. Next year we will launch six new seasons, a sign of our excitement for Italian content, and comparable to other major European countries. We have, in Italy, highly original and well-executed shows coming, and hope the shows will be enjoyed in Italy and beyond, motivating us to continue to invest more in telling Italian stories. The talent and the ideas are there to continue to find great shows.

There is quite a wide range of Netflix Italian TV originals. What’s in the Italian pipeline at the moment and what is the underlying philosophy and strategy of Italian commissions?

We have truly unique and creatively ambitious shows in production in Italy. From the bold, exciting vision of the team of “Luna Nera,” which uses the frame of the fantasy genre to say something that will connect with audiences today; to the characters and setting of “Zero,” which creates something in the superhero genre space never seen before in a series in Italy; to the mind-bending high concept of “Curon”; to the sensual and thought-provoking exploration of relationships of “Fedeltà” [in development] to the refreshing view on first love of “Summertime” to the continued visions of “Suburra: The Series” and “Baby.” What ties these shows together is a specific, passionate point of view of the creators — who range from first-time creators to proven, seasoned ones — and genres that we feel can help the shows find their audiences, in Italy and beyond. As we continue to diversify the slate, we’ll explore other genres such as period romance, comedy, and others. We want to find an array of exciting visions that will connect with different audiences in Italy and beyond.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Actress Catherine Oxenberg, left, with Stanley

    Catherine Oxenberg on Dramatizing Her Life Story for 'Escaping the NXIVM Cult'

    For seven years, Catherine Oxenberg says, individuals within the NXIVM organization groomed her daughter India and made her believe in their group as one of empowerment, despite many of their practices being abusive towards women. Now, those years have been condensed into a 90-minute dramatization of Oxenberg’s story for Lifetime, entitled “Escaping the NXIVM Cult: [...]

  • Suzanne Whang Obit

    'House Hunters' Star Suzanne Whang Dies at 56

    Suzanne Whang, best known for her nine-year hosting and narrating stint on HGTV’s “House Hunters,” died Tuesday after a 13-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56. Whang’s partner Jeff Vezain shared the news on Facebook Thursday, writing that “she confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism.” “She was immensely encouraged by the love [...]

  • Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1:

    Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1’ Spinoff at Fox

    Fox’s “9-1-1” spinoff has added two more series regulars to its cast. Ronen Rubinstein and Sierra McClain have joined previously announced cast members Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler and Jim Parrack, Variety has learned. The new entry to the budding “9-1-1” franchise follows a sophisticated New York fireman (Lowe) who, along with his son, re-locates to Austin, [...]

  • Mr Robot BTS

    How 'Mr. Robot' Launched Its Creator and Star to New Heights

    “Mr. Robot” may be synonymous with helping USA redefine its long-touted “blue-skies” strategy into its current “we the bold” motto, but the series was also career-defining for those involved — particularly creator Sam Esmail and actor Rami Malek. Malek’s resume included a few key credits including HBO’s “The Pacific” and “Short Term 12” before taking [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "119 (Grand Finale)"

    Ryan Seacrest to Return for 'American Idol' Season 3 on ABC

    Ryan Seacrest will return as the host of “American Idol” for the music competition’s third season on ABC. Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show. He also serves as co-host and executive producer on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as [...]

  • Julian Fellowes

    'Downton Abbey' Creator Julian Fellowes on His Early Start as an Actor

    Julian Fellowes was all wrong for his time — at first. When he graduated from drama school in 1973, working-class dramas onstage were all the rage, and the aspiring actor struggled to get an agent. He eventually snagged a supporting role in “A Touch of Spring,” a West End comedy that required him to fall down a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content