Nobody really knows exactly what a global television network looks like, but with Netflix’s expansion to 130 countries, “you’re seeing one being built.”
That according to Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos, who spoke to reporters about the future of the streaming service during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
With original series such as Marvel’s Daredevil and Orange is the New Black, and licensed shows such as Breaking Bad and Gilmore Girls “popular all over the world,” the story of Netflix’s growth is told more through its subscriber base than its ratings, Sarandos said.
Although the streaming service saw a 16 percent drop in its stock after second quarter ratings came in lower than expected, with only 1.7 million worldwide subscribers—8 million less than the 2.5 million the company had forecast—Netflix is focused on making great programing that people love.
The company “grew much faster than anticipated in Q1, and slower in Q2,” he said.
Sarandos pointed to Netflix’s 17 original series that received 54 Emmy nominations this year—up from 34 last year—as an indication of the service’s strong programming, which in turn leads to a strong subscriber base.
“In just over three years, Netflix has become a showcase for discovering new voices both behind and in front of the camera,” he said, by “holding a mirror up to the world and reflecting it back with stories that are fresh and compelling globally”
This comes with a slew of newly announced original series and renewed seasons, including a focus on kids’ programming and family programming.
Netflix announced premiere dates for eight upcoming series that span documentary, drama and comedy, including: Chef’s Table: France; Joe Swanberg’s Easy; The Ranch; Lovesick (fka Scrotal Recall); Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; Captive; Beat Bugs (S2); One Day at a Time; and Black Mirror.
Three series, including Chelsea, Lady Dynamite and Real Rob were renewed for a second season. The Untitled Motown Project, an all new animated series for children and families from writer/director Josh Wakely, also was announced. And finally, Jennifer Garner will voice a lead character in the animated series Llama, Lama, and the young cast featured in Greenhouse Academy also was named.
Co-viewing is a key part of the service’s strategy, with series that bring viewers “back to a time when people use to watch television shows together without being incredibly embarrassed,” he said.
Netflix’s future is also coupled by its extended licensing agreement with The CW, and its newly announced first global SVOD licensing agreement with 20th Century Fox for American Crime Story.
The first season of FX’s show will be available globally on Netflix, excluding Canada, in 2017 with all season made available after their respective broadcast windows.
When it comes to growing in international markets, it can be a challenge to correctly forecast growth, and often years of frustrating to navigate decades of status quo deal making, payments, processes, e-commerce and internet speeds.
“Latin America was very difficult for us,” Sarandos said. “Now, it’s such an important part of our global business and one of our fastest growing global territories.”
Each country also comes with its own set of challenges.
“What we learned in Latin America didn’t help us in Italy; what we learned in Mexico didn’t help us in Taiwan,” he said.
With Netflix announcing in January a $6 billion programming commitment to spending on originals and acquisitions, the service plans creating series that fans the adventurous storytelling and original voices they crave.
There’s a lot of show to watch, but which ones would you cut? Sarandos was asked. “Our vote is to keep the bar high, and to keep them coming.”