Netflix European Executives Reveal Local-First Approach at Series Mania: ‘We’re Not Adjusting Anything to the American Way of Doing Things’

Netflix Europe
Series Mania Forum

Top Netflix Europe executives have said that the streamer is practising a local-first approach to production.

Speaking at the Series Mania Forum on Monday, Anna Nagler, director, local language originals, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, said, “We’re so happy that when when we enter the local market, we can work with local community, with local talent and local directors, the way to learn from them and to actually give them space, to give them the platform to create, to bring the stories alive in the way they already know, and been working in this way for years.”

“So we’re not adjusting anything to the American way of doing things, we allow our creators to express themselves the best way possible, and the best way they know,” Nagler added. “We are there to accompany them, to collaborate with them. But we’re not emphasizing or insisting on any Netflix way.”

Nagler was speaking at a session titled “Netflix: From Europe to the World.” The session was named appropriately enough given that several of the giant streamer’s shows originate in Europe and become massive global hits, with “Lupin,” from Netflix France, being a case in point. “Anna K,” a contemporary retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s evergreen classic novel “Anna Karenina,” is currently in production and will be the first Netflix Russian original. With a mighty 150 titles being produced out of Europe, many of these have the potential to be global breakouts.

In France especially, many A-list film talents are crossing over to streaming, thanks to Netflix. “Lupin” stars Omar Sy (“Intouchables”) and one of France’s best known action film directors, Julien Leclercq has gangland series “Braqueurs” bowing Sept. 24.

“They have teamed and worked with very experienced TV writers and HODs, and I think that really the magic happens when you celebrate the best of both worlds,” said Damien Couvreur, VP of French series at Netflix. “When we do a TV series with film talents, it’s because also we’re trying to do something that they will not be able to do in the film space, so it’s really finding the combination of the concept, the story and the ingredients that will make a great series.”

Couvreur said that there were 27 French titles in the works, including “Drole,” set in a Paris comedy club, from Fanny Herrero, creator of “Call My Agent.”

Meanwhile, Larry Tanz, VP of original series for Europe, Middle East and Africa revealed that Netflix now dubs in 34 languages and subtitles in 37. Tanz is also bullish about the various European territories feeding off each other. “I think we’re in a really special place in Europe, where we can share learnings across our countries, and even work across sets of IP,” Tanz said. The executive used Netflix’s relationship with prolific U.S. author Harlan Coben as an example, where his American set novels are adapted into very specific localized European milieus, including “The Innocent” in Spain, “Gone For Good” in France and “Stay Close” in the U.K.

Going forward, the executives were in agreement that talent was going to be in short supply in the next couple of years. Couvreur said that the streamer is investing in the next generation of talent, while Tanz underlined Netflix’s ongoing efforts towards increasing diversity.

“Our member base is broadening and becoming more diverse, and one of the things we believe is that people deserve to see themselves represented on screen,” Tanz said. “And so this demand and need to grow the talent base also gives us a great opportunity to bring talent that reflects not only the way people look or act or feel but even the stories that get told, which ultimately is the key to bringing stories to people that they can relate to.”