The Atlantic released a transcript of a Friday panel on the traditional model of television which featured remarks from Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. The remarks come hot on the heels of Netflix’s announcement that they were renewing their original series Orange is the New Black before the program had even aired. Below are choice excerpts of Sarandos from the panel.
On competing with HBO, Sarandos says:
The way we compete with HBO and everybody else is for attention. Internally we call it moments of truth: when you sit down on your couch and you pick up your remote, which one do you pick up, the one that controls the cable channels, or the one that streams Netflix through your tv? … about two-thirds of people watching Netflix do it on their television. So the convergence is here and it’s happening both ways.
How do you prefer to watch Netflix? Via TV or other devices? Let us know in the comments below.
Subscribe to the Netflix Instant Watch Examiner and get the latest updates, reviews and release announcements!
Sarandos also discussed how Netflix’s approach differs from the usual pressures of network prime time programming:
If you’re programming a 24 hour network, your several hours of prime time are extremely precious. Everything in those periods has to work. That’s why there’s a 70 percent failure rate for series. If you’re writing a tv show and trying to get it on a network, the chances of breaking through are slim.
Because of the economics of our business… the threshold comes down and more shows can get picked up, because it’s highly personalized … You can support a show for [smaller niches] — you just control the economics of how it’s made. That way you can have a lot more choice and a lot more tastes, all being made at the same time…
Sarandos noted that Hemlock Grove, the supernatural Netflix series produced by Eli Roth, was renewed for a 2nd season in part because it did well for its demographic.
Sarandos also provided a preview of upcoming Netflix original series:
Right now we’re shooting the second season. In two weeks we’ll debut Orange Is the New Black. That is created by Jenji Kohan, who created Weeds at Showtime, and is a really fantastic show … We have a series we bought out of the UK staring Ricky Gervais. We have a second season of Lilyhammer coming up which is a really interesting show. It was made for Norwegian television. It’s 65 percent in Norwegian, 35 percent in English. You might think of it as a very regional show, but it actually works for us everywhere around the globe — we bough it everywhere outside Norway and the UK, and we have fast follow in those markets. And it’s all great storytelling.
While on the panel, Sarandos also discussed Netflix’s creative input with producers, the limitations of the Netflix model and more. Read the rest here.