'Hollywood, The Sequel,' Episode 8: 'FAST, NIMBLE AND VERY BIG with Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos'
And Welcome to our podcast. Do It's where Hollywood leaders talk about how the industry might come out of the pandemic changed for the better? And we couldn't very well consider how the business should reinvent itself without talking to the biggest change agent of all net flicks with. So much of the world forced to stay at home the streaming service has added twenty six million subscribers in the first half of the year. But the company had shaken up the industry. Well, before the pandemic, a little history netflix's started in nineteen ninety seven as an online DVD rental outfit it launched its streaming service ten years later in two, thousand, seven and back then TV networks and movie studios were happy to sell the little upstart, their old shows and films but in so doing they help create their worst rival. Netflix as well. Spend an estimated seventeen billion dollars this year on content to fight back competitors, like Disney, Time Warner and NBC universal have launched their own streaming services but does Netflix's have too much power. So movie theater chains and others would say yes. In addition to being chief content officer, Ted Saranda says now co-ceo with founder Reed Hastings and one important disclosure. My wife is a Netflix lawyer. The basic premise of our podcast is this and that is, are we in the middle of a moment where Hollywood can or should reinvent itself and if so what might that future look like? So I'm going to start with the basic business right now when things get back to normal whenever that happens, how do you think the fundamental business is going to evolve post pandemic? Guy. Largely a lot of things are going to go back to what we're doing there'd be many things that will linger. The good thing I think is in the return to production kind of safety protocols many of those things at the. Two, very effective in making a production safer and more efficient, and we'll stick around but I can tell you our experience of shooting around the world under these new Safety Protocols is that the shoots are more organized people know where they're supposed to be the actually run quite smoothly and all the extra steps that is going into making the production environment cleaner and healthier has actually doesn't result in a big delay of time because the efficiency of the of the production schedules fewer people who don't need to be on the set or not on the set and all this kind of things which actually. the way the rhythms of production pretty significant. I think some of those things will stick around. In terms of the business itself, who makes movies who makes TV shows who watches them I think this time that we're living in right now is kind of accelerated Joyce and accelerated options and gives a lot more storytellers a place at Bat to be able to get out and get their stories to. So I'm going to deal with that in a second but I'm GonNa go to what's going. On right now, there's a very spirited debate going on between a couple of theater chains, and universal universal has taken a couple of its plan theatrical releases, trolls, world tour, and King Staten Island and put them directly on video on demand platforms. AMC has now capitulated and say they will run universal movies for seventeen days before they can go to digital platforms. The owner of Regal is like no terrible idea. But as you're watching data distribution model be challenged and kind of break apart in real time. How does that affect streaming companies and your ability to get your movies into theaters which has been a real obstacle in the past the great thing is is getting our movies into theaters has not been an obstacle to getting him to audiences. our films enjoy enormous audiences on Netflix and on on our film releases like the Irishman others where we. Had Pretty large theatrical releases the big theater chains AMC's and others have refused the book the book the films which I think is really just bad for their business and bad for their customers because the independent theater chains enjoyed sellout performances throughout the entire runs of those shows, they're just smaller rooms. So it's harder for people to get tickets and get seats or to do you know a big box office number, but that's not the business model US anyway. We got film into hundreds thousands actually screens around the world for a nice long theatrical run for people who wanted to go to the theater, but it was also on Netflix. To Watch it at home and for me like I just said not being in theaters does not us from getting an audience for a film, but I would like to be able to offer choice. To move filmgoers and film lovers and filmmakers to be able to make their films available in the best theaters and on Netflix. Consumers choose to watch that way and what happens to that experience just for people like you and me that likes to go see movies in theaters. I'm certainly not headed back to a theater anytime soon even if they reopened. Do. You think that that way of seeing movies for any consumer is going to be fundamentally changed if and went theaters open maybe middle of next year next spring who knows when it's really hard to tell I mean you think about what your behaviors took a couple of years for commercial air travel to get back to normal post nine eleven. So I do think that that's a that's a really big necessity. So if you think about a lot of things like that, it's very hard to predict now how people are going to feel emotionally six months from now three months from now twelve months from now. But I think going to the movies is kind of a fundamental. Social Event for people around the world they're getting out of the house and you know seeing some things together. That's not the way. Most people see movies anymore. But it is a nice. It's a nice night out and I would let you know I'm looking forward to having that option again I, like you I'm not positive when that will be. Good, enough to do it. But I'm I'm I'm hopeful that it'll come around again. The other thing that I think is happening as theaters remained closed is that the kinds of movies that the studios make I think are pretty much in question because companies like Disney have made a huge bet on big franchises, it could be marvel it could be Lucasfilm could be pixar. and. The fact that you can't go to a theater I have to imagine it's going to change the kind of films maybe that studios are GonNa make but right now does that create more of an For. A company like yours that isn't really in that business of big event movies that it does mean that there is shifting taste that is really kind of driven by what you can and cannot see in a theater. I'm not sure I feel like we got to be graded the you know the full complement of movies. That of things that people like to see I mean like kind of like an RTD business where we're trying. To. Make things for your whatever your mood is whatever your taste is and for movie goers that could be a big action adventure escape film extraction or the old guard on Netflix right now or you know or it could be a much smaller more intimate Johm like marriage story that is tougher I think to get people out to the theaters for but I think what happens is over time people get used to watching. Movies at home, and then they get used to watching premiere movies at home. And they kinda like So when we get a movie like like extraction, which you know almost one hundred, million netflix's accounts of watch the movie at least once you think about that and say. That's about the cultural equivalent of a billion dollar movie at the box office. I do think the way we think about what movies you do don't see I think the bigger they are the more spectacular they are. That's kind of needed to get you off the couch. and. The bar for that is going to keep getting higher