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Ted Sarandos


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When I think of you hi guys a disruptive phase? We met him on a number of occasions social occasions in business occasions. He seems like a perfectly Nice Guy. Hi I've never disrupted at dinner yet. This is Ted Saran. Does the chief content officer of Netflix. You've heard of them and the whole world has heard of you now. I I mean my Gosh what what is incredible saga. This is an ongoing saga. Of course every day seems like a new day it does seem that way. You were seemed like you've come to a plateau and then you reaching for the next plateau so I have been around here. Believe it or not people don't understand that has been around for a long time so I've been almost twenty years at Netflix and It I don't think any two years of the job have been the same name so from the kind of scrappy startup mailing DVD's around Only in the US to where we're at today which operate everywhere in the world except China North Korea and Syria We should be looking for We have We produce As you know an enormous amount of original films and television not just in the US but We have one hundred thirty seasons of local language television that we're in production of around the world And you know major feature films and it's moved from being what it was happy. DVD BY MAIL STARTUP STARTUP TO Major Global Media Company and people lived for it I mean scrappy and that I used to lead room yeah. It's that was a thing that people talk about blockbuster and how much they miss that. But when I was when I was younger it was also net flicks and people had their queues. That's how the Accu- came into America by the way you know the UK they they love that here. I'd never heard it used and then suddenly people are saying. Oh it's my a Netflix Queue. Your what My Netflix Queue. Remember it got so popular the DVD metromail service that you'd go to certain post offices and there'd be a separate box just for netflix envelopes. So yeah so you've already changed the cultures so to speak more than once. Direct Impact Aqaba cause and effect those red envelopes. You know that was the thing. is they show up in a movie. Yeah we haven't asked someone did when my dad was on real channel. They did as like as a photo at him. Holding a ton of those envelopes had framed in my room tons of this net flicks envelopes ones in your mouth. It just. It's a day to explain to people. What does those those things? What are they holding? I told you we were talking before we started about Speaking at Chapman University this week and I I always remind start telling my life story and I you know my basically my into this was working in a video store and I realized most of the audience has no idea what a video store is just like being a blacksmith. It's one of those jobs. Don't explode existed muggy. Whip manufacturing exactly. Well let's ask you to do essentially what you've done many times before little little up I grew up in Phoenix Arizona Born in New Jersey. But my family moved to Phoenix when I was a kid. pretty uneventful childhood except my parents parts were very young folks WHO had started having babies too young as we had five five and And my house was like so chaotic. Like all the time with these young parents and all these kids running around who had made parents had four kids in the weather in their twenties. So it's so it was like a pretty unstructured living at this random house except for television and I used to take a lot of comfort from the structure of television from the schedule from what was going on those those seemingly peaceful lives that were happening in that box. Look pretty appealing to me So my early you know my earliest connection and entertainment really was for me was a real escape was a real place to get away from south haven. Yeah Yeah and I and I And I also I didn't. I wasn't a big sleeper so I didn't I didn't need a lot of sleep back then. Sleep for four five hours a night so I would stay up late and I- late night television. It was mostly what you'd expect I Love Lucy. The Dick Van Dyke show the Andy Griffith. Show the Jack. Benny Program An exit got later. You might get into the FBI you might get into dragnet episodes but so they People experience me kind of as an old soul because I was aware of things twenty and thirty years ahead of Mesa Mesa my time but and it's interesting now because young people don't know TV from the seventies and eighties the way that I knew TV in the fifties. When I was growing up? Yeah there there is a kind of a again that word culture this kind of pop culture disconnect. Yeah every four or five years seems yeah you know things get cycled through and probably like the biased in his new now even a stronger bias to news also just interesting as to what plays in different places in the U K they. He's still show Ricki Lake episodes from the ninety. I will not the funniest thing I turned it on and it was a couple was arguing over. Who got to keep the VCR? We are court things ricky decides and I thought this is the most wonderful dated thing where most people would go. What are the what are they fighting the VCR? Same Way. I grew up where I love. Lucy was on television from four o'clock to five o'clock and then it was Simpson's for an hour so I watch I love Lucy every single day my husband who's from England. They never showed it so he knows who she is kind of like he can. He sees her and she's on so much stuff they put on mugs. And what have you so he can sort of identify. But it's it's like another world and it's an interesting one of the interesting evolutions of definitely. I'll go back to the TED childhood whenever you're ready but I think one of the interesting evolutions of this isn't that when we do an original show on Netflix. We make it available to the world in the same moment in one hundred ninety countries and what happens overnight. You know someone like me Bobby Brown on stranger things overnight. Her social media fills up from from in every language and hunt overnight millions of followers and become which from all over the world so it wasn't this whole thing that you got to go to another country and explained anybody who really Bobby Brown is. She's a global star in. That happened within twenty four hours launch of that show and it happens every week. It's pretty incredible. It's wild so continue your soccer yes those TV. Johnny I was a TV junkie. And I for some reason at a very young age. I thought it would be a journalist. And I really admire Meyer journalists and mostly what I knew about them what I've learned from watching Lou grant and others but I thought for sure that that's going to be my my my course in life I was going to Community Unity College in in Phoenix and Glendale Community College and working at this at a video store which were happened to open my neighborhood. It was almost like a meant to be thing was the second store in the studios during the state and it opened in my neighborhood and I for again. My upbringing makes no says my parents. The we didn't have a lot of money but my mom probably in her own kind of reckless way always have whatever the latest entertainment thing was so we had a VCR. No I didn't I know anyone else who had a VCR we had Early on we had a little. Hbo Dish they used to be able to buy at Radio Shack. And you get. Hbo And you get a little paper. Hbo Guide in the Mail. And we had that. We didn't always have electricity. We didn't always gas or the phone was often disconnected but we always had all these things so It was good that it had a VCR and a video store. Many road and I went into the store Met A guy's name is. Dale Mason still operates one video one one in store in Phoenix Arizona and We started talking about his story he grew up in Chicago. Was An air traffic controller. Roller O'Hara air at O'hare airport which was a super high stress job and he hated it and he had read in a magazine somewhere. The big businesses of the eighties would be video stores in yogurt shops APPs and he said I hate yogurt. I love movies so he cashed out Alvis money that he could and he moved to Phoenix. Arizona opened video store and just like and so we nice to go in the store all the time and just hang out and talk to them and move. move the boxes around on the shelf and organize them for them and so just hanging around guy and he finally said you want a job tonight so I took a job working there And I had my second year community. College this epiphany that I it wasn't a very good writer. Yeah and I don't and I worked hard enough that I was certainly serviceable you know and no one ever told me you're not had a very good writer you should think about a different career path But I so enjoyed this interview Much really enjoyed the research but then it's at under right and it was very difficult. They didn't have the passion for because I didn't now may realize it's probably 'cause I knew it wasn't very good. Yeah so I went to the And I was at the time thinking thinking about going to northern Arizona University. I was the editor of the college newspapers. His I got a I got an award for layout and design and they came with a scholarship scholarship opportunity and and I realize I wasn't going to be a journalist and I didn't know what else to do and the and the Dale. The owner said. Well I would hope you would take a year and takeover things for me. Because now the store had expanded to nine stores and An eye in the sky was spending no time at home and his wife was mad at him all the time so he he said. Why don't you give me some time to go off and you could take over everything? And he just kind of gave me the keys to this entire chain of stores and and it turned out to be An Mba course in film school all wrapped up in one. Because I was able to run the store from top to bottom higher fire. The people programming coming marketing janitorial negotiate. Leases things I knew nothing about by the old eighteen nineteen. Wow twenty years maybe yeah yeah and And and now it feels kind of low stakes so it's okay but it was a great way to learn a lot and then the great thing was video stores were empty all day. Yeah so it's all you can do you what we watched. I watched everything in the store and over time Of course we did what a young people are. Hired all my buddies we call each other and say hey. Let's watch this and then we'd get together after the stores close and talk about those movies and so as I said it was a build your own film school indefinitely an MBA course Learning and also the you said about things. I've how things work in different places different countries. What I found is how things play different neighborhoods sure and was always as a source of vaccination for me? Well Scott Alexander and Larry Zeus keyhole buddies of mine told me you knew Rudy Ray Moore dolemite from being a video store. They came in When when they give into pitch Dolemite Eddie came into I was so pretty I mean I'm yeah yeah I mean? This is a no big superstar and he came in and to do and I think they had fully planned on spending thirty of the forty minute pitch explaining more I totally do every copy of Dolemite and he So anyway so they so. Instead of pitching out he was Eddie was performed the material uh-huh and and which forgetting that it was crazy Indulge in things of Eddie Murphy performed for you directly but also it's a right away A. There's there's a lightning bolt that we have to make that movie. Sure well the the best compliment I can give you. Is that as long as we've known you gotten to speak to you love movie. And it's the nicest thing in the world to be able to tell people that when they're talking about net flicks that I know that someone who is at the top of this company genuinely genuinely loves movies because it's what matters worse and I also like the motivation for this is I was like a the one indecisive about being a journalism major was had access to add a town newspapers all the time so live even though I lived in Phoenix Jim Jarmusch Spike Lee These guys didn't exist in Phoenix. Nothing big existing one art house theater and it was outed Ah Arizona State University Tempe so for me to get to see a movie that was out of the mainstream at all. got on a bus for an hour to go across town and we. I remember my buddy and I got doing that for when I go. Twenty two nights in a row to see Showa And and got there just in time both nights where we're sitting in the front row for four and a half hours watching this foreign language subtitled and dubbed documentary about the Holocaust. But that's like that those were the experiences and I realized when the just open was all. Also there's all those people I've been reading about it in the newspaper. There's those movies I've been reading about that otherwise didn't even exist in Arizona so So there's that part of the motivation for Netflix was kind of cool democratization of storytelling and and and movies. That are a little out of the mainstream. So I'm real support for India's. DACHSHUND foreign language starved of it as a cure people. The first thing people say to my dad all the time so what do you think a streaming and like that with this sort of an attitude of of you know. So what and every single time we say the same thing it gives people an opportunity. It gives people a place ace. And if you're a filmmaker what you care about at the end of the day is people seeing your movie so yes of course everyone. I think dreams of the premier like like in the movies with the flashing lights and everything else but the reality is when that's over. Was it just that audience that saw your film and we do. We meet filmmakers all the time who say I'm so grateful that I was with net flicks where I'm so grateful that my movie is seen like you're talking about globally globally early and and it might be that it's generational and cultural like the idea of a movie either. The idea that you grew up with in your head was in a big dark room strangers ages and then the more the I'm not saying the more you get away from that as you age up or did you go through life but as as the As people for a long time people I've seen most of their movies at home. You know what I mean. That's been there for a long Yet it doesn't take anything away from this INCR- I find. I love the experience of sitting in the theater and watching watching a movie with strangers I to be lost in the experience. One of the great things I get to do with our own films is going to go out on the festival circuit. which do the screening? I've seen Irishman in a theater. Thirteen fourteen times and and I and I I never. It's never lost on me. What a great experience insight is Roma are I saw Roma in probably twenty theaters around the world for screenings always thinking as soon as we do the introduction. I'd slip about go to dinner and always slipping into the watching it again and I would say like. In the case of Roma. It was a very different and better experiencing in the theater. The most those people didn't have the luxury of doing but it was a I mean because of the sound design and because of you know the the general of pacing of that film it was a really great experience in the theatre. It's also great at home but it was better in the theater for sure but most films are not really any and and and I and I felt many experiences where I'd say while I'm glad I saw that the theater but more and more. I'm I'm glad I saw that. Yeah exactly now. People would debate you on that of course but and I know that there's no oh debate. Seen the Mona Lisa the Lou attack you but thank God it could also Google it exactly. It doesn't have to be an either or it doesn't have to be a conversation station where it's like it's this or that and because you're a movie buff you would never say to someone Ono who wants to see a movie in the theater you never. But that's what I mean. I think people I'll have an attitude and you sort of go. You don't have to have that attitude. Yeah we can love all of it. We saw my wife and I were lucky to see the Irishman opening day. The Egyptian Cynthia. How great and greatest right? Yeah the film and the experience both and but I look forward to seeing it again at home where you know I make myself comfortable for long. Sit Yeah and we'll we'll try not to get up. We'll try to just focus on that but these things keep as you say that keeps changing evolving. Just a short sidetrack. When I was in junior high school also not junkie but getting to be a real old movie buff? I would sometimes force myself to go to sleep early. Set the alarm for two fifteen in the morning to wake up to see Howard Hawks Twentieth Century John. Barrymore on Caroline's middle of the night because it was playing in the middle of the night and there was no other way to see it. Yeah and I lived lived just outside of Newark which had revival theaters but that will never seemed to turn up so I did that and then tried to force myself to go back to sleep. Yeah so it'd be awakened at school in the morning. I mean you know that that was effort. That was real effort not that much earlier than that. That movie just didn't exist in the culture anymore precisely before. TV's isolate sleigh came along and TV became the elephant burial ground so many movies but then became a you know a a treasure trove right of movies right and in the years before there was a turner. Classic Movies Channel An long before the Internet long before net flicks. That was the that was the choice you had is. It took television to bring that movie to your house in the middle of the night and then it took cable television to Britain created to have channels is that were be NICI enough that all kinds of great movies on TV again and then it took the Internet to take it to the next which is to put it all at your fingertips anytime you want. Yes I it's just extraordinary. The part I don't get is when. And how did you and reed hastings the founder of Netflix step of stories. When and how did you figure out you ought to be a network? You ought to be like you. You know like a a source. This is not just a conveyance source I would I met read so I'm running these video stores for a long time. I just fell in love with that stuck with it for longtime then it went to work from there to a The home video distributors that sold the videos to the stores And then for a very short window I took a job running a retail chain West Coast video and video city. They were kind of a Hollywood video. Size style Chain of stores than they were based in California so I moved from Phoenix to La And it was a very shortly thereafter. I met read and I read because while I was in this short stint there I did did What was the first of its kind revenue share deal on DVD for this chain of stores And we got excited. I got the reason why I was kind of early in. DVD It was Our stores happen to be in these kind of middle size markets. Most of them had a military base near them and People the military are tend to be young men and gadget centric disposable income so they were early adopters a DVD so stores at high demand on DVD early. So we end. The problem. Was If you're stuck in these VHS revenue share deals they wouldn't allow you to put the DVD's of the same moves on the shelf even so it was a bunch of complexity but we weren't in any of those deals so we were able to do it so we did. I did a deal with Warner brothers and Sony to do dvd revenue sharing and DVD. Sell through and all those things early and read saw a trade magazine and said I need to talk to that Guy Because Netflix was up and running he had raised a bunch of money privately and they were burning through like crazy because as we grew they needed more. DVD's all the time so the revenue sharing enabled us to Get enough inventory to serve have good customer experience as we grew in there. which kind of paid as you went instead of sucking up all the cash so it it was a in so when I I get a mutual friend extra someone I used to sell through sell to from the distributors? I was just getting Mitch Lowe Who I also kind of went off and did red box? But he He called he introduced me. Read Nigh and I had I did my very first ECOMMERCE transaction. which was the southwest airline ticket to go meet them and we had an amazing conversation? In late I believe October of nineteen ninety nine when read need Said but seems like a very gracious thing right now was that all entertainment all filmed entertainment is going to come into the home. The Internet so the thing about that means that that in one thousand nine hundred when the Internet was super slow and super expensive that read said that cable. TV'S NOT GONNA exist. Someday you know and this is nine hundred ninety nine and I thought now be honest with you. I thought he was a kind of Kooky thing to to think or say But he said it was such clarity and such pew so certain of it an I and I said well the Internet super. Someone emailed me a clip from South Park. It's seven days to open you. Sure and he's like no no no Moore's laws I was coming Internet's GonNa get twice as fast that half the price every eighteen months and it happened just like he's an idea ninety nine and all the Willie floats it. But he but I I would tell you that I remember the the the sense of visionary that you know that you walked away from that meeting and and he offered me a job to come work ethics and help with the Securing rate relationships with the studios and programming. And I said you know. I don't know this is GonNa this is GonNa work mark. What he's talking about but he's going to do he's this guy's going to change the world and I want to be around and I said yes and we joined joined net flix foresight of him and for sensitive you as it turns out? Yeah it's more than just turns out in one go ahead. No you asked about the network part of yeah back in that whole thing where this is going to move from physical physical media you know. He didn't call the company. DVD flicks because he always dvd was just the temporary way to move bits. The the Internet was going to get cheaper. We'd move bits on the Internet. But in the meantime put him on a disk and Mellon so that and the enduring that what he saw as the big prize then I was not original programming or or even programming at all it was the marketing aspect of it. That the At the time that he and I were talking ninety nine. The big debate was digital theaters. And who was GONNA pay to put the digital projectors into the theater studios or the theaters and we had this great great conversation. Whereas we're the outcome was this was going to be such a great thing for everybody? No one will be fighting about. WHO's going to pay for it? The cheapest thing the studio does prince around right so this doesn't change the PL. The marketing changes the piano. If you can help people find things that are going to love in a more efficient way you you can change the Peon Alvin Entertainment Company and the idea of personalized merchandising through Algorithm and figuring out what people like and showing them that and we and ahead of real world example of it was in back when I was doing those stores and I was telling you neighborhood. The neighborhood was hard to figure out what people would see. Some stores really great with art films did do at all but and I realize as a fan that if I go to see Of A German language film at the Valley Art Theater and three months later another good German art language film comes out and is playing there They had the the studio has to buy as the blanket. The whole city to find me because they have no idea what that I love that movie so but if it if they knew where I lived and they knew that I was a great target for this thing. Yeah that'd be really game changing so the whole thing really started to figure out Keno. Can you make a better experience than a video store shopping experience if it's personalized just for your taste all the time and wouldn't have this need for the the marketing which actually Sri cost more than the movies. Sometimes so I mean now the now this data gathering has been smeared and got a bad name and sometimes for very good. 'cause definitely and and I I remember back in the video days film. Professor writing to me complaining that he'd been renting John Ford movies from his local store but they saw it as him renting John Wayne movies and John Wayne no secrets secret to say John Wayne. Lean to the right literally speaking physically. Yeah true it's true that loping walk into the right but he was running John Ford movies right not for political reasons at all and yet he was getting on a mailing list because they had targeted targeted him Visit gave him. Yes wow so. That was pretty early on the first time I encountered that at issue Now of course The barns burned down the cows of along. I don't think there's anybody wins anytime for us or why we steer clear of all those things Is We we don't We don't collect any demographic data so I don't know how old or young or male or female or otherwise any of our members are what you like. That's what matters that you like and And also we don't sell advertising so there's no reason to do any of that And then all the data's autumn is so basically it's You know their their profiles of people not they're not people and and and the thing that you watch is not is not very telling for other things right the most important thing. If you're if if you're open to if you like Woody Allen movie you probably like an hour brooks movie and that's really important. That's super important but How you vote or what you buy what you drinker? What car you're driving means? Nothing to that no horse in that race. There's no nudity and it's important to know of it is safer for for that. It is always funny because before you would have multiple profiles before it got detail visited out you know if someone else had watched it my husband because suddenly only all these sci-fi things are popping up is the why those my mom's watching British dramas are popping up. It's like if if you WANNA stock your family and friends. That's the way in the early in the in the earlier versions of these you know merged as the number of those who are kind of clunky. So they do things like give you watch the bunch of John Wayne Movies. Zor just a lot of Westerns. They might think you like horses. So I'll things are getting much of a question. Yeah the this is all exploding around us so seems to me to be quick but not quits twenty years for the overnight sensation. That's twenty years. Yeah I I remember contacting you in just looked up in two thousand ten Because I wrote a book called the One hundred and fifty one best movies. You've never seen and I thought what a great Italian with Netflix has to be 'cause they rent. DVD's that's how they make their living. And I'm helping recommend movies on DVD. And then you broke the news to me. You were already in the future so I didn't know you were already ten years ahead of well. Twenty years ahead of makes I'm always bide. But you already knew where Netflix was going. Yeah and hustling. DVD's was a phone call with them. Isn't you. Were telling me before you have to fill win your your blank. He said what do you think of this and you went actually DVD. That's not going to be so much of what we do. Uh and it it is I say this over and over again to people. I'm thirty three. That's not old. I'm not old by any means but in terms of the technology shift that's ex- that's gone on in my lifetime. It's mind blowing because because my dad was at ut. I saw really early computers. I remember when it was a wall. You you know we go to. Et and it was like. Here's the computer it lives. It lives here. You know it wasn't so much. My Dad had a pager that that was one of the first people I've ever seen how to Patriots entertainment tonight. I was left that the idea to like there's important entertainment news Leonard. Need you to have a pager studying to be a journalist. I intern for the critic at the Arizona Republic. Bud Wilkerson and have you ever knew that name but treaties was not a big market probably but but the night of the finale of Mash When I was interning with them and we watched the episode? They didn't leave the episode early for critics and we had to get in the car and literally race. Across town to the newsroom's we could files review and he had about an hour window from the time. The show is over door. He couldn't have couldn't have done. Oh my goodness open. The laptop did that and the idea then it just I get reminded me of like with old movies from the thirty s when the verdict comes in their phones. So Oh but it's amazing. How fast like my kids? My kids are twenty three and twenty five and they have never not known cartoons on demand of some form when I told them I said when I was a kid. If you overslept on Saturday morning you had to wait till next week. Carter trying grown up where they didn't have nickelodeon for twenty four hour cartoons. I I mean it's it's so crazy say I I'll say to someone I. I know that I'm not old but the idea that I remember. What when the cell phone became a thing you you know hell? When we got fancy calculators that was a big deal to nine Texas things other than writing boobs on your computer you certainly make it do different stuff? It's it is it is mind blowing and when you look at net flicks and again even just thinking about how I watched it before or how I watch it now Will I'll see a movie that I love and I'll tell my dad and I can also tell my friend and I you know in Europe I can say. Hey you guys should check out this movie. That's the the real interesting thing with the changes that you can people would always go to a cocktail party or did you already and talk about a show that they watched and no one you haven't seen yet and then then you were just kind of stuck couldn't go back and start from the beginning if you if if you could find it at all going to buy a DVD box set or whatever so but now you'd say you go home from the Party and the thing you're talking about right there and just go home owner to films similar with the films that Tattoo take that someone will tell you they like it and you can watch it now immediately. That's a big one for us for film festivals. Is it used used to be it. It is funny it changes it changes things a little bit. Because when I'm festival I don't feel the same impetus like if I don't see this disappeared forever But it is really wild. Silence their movies. Where again? Even fifteen years ago I'd see it and I go. I hope you get to see at one day. It may not now where with you at telluride. And we're going. Well here's I here's Ted's babies here all of these. That are going to be there to asterisk point. Yeah you mentioned you drop the name Lou grant among on TV. Tell us about meeting asner. I I give that. That was a super important meeting in my life because It was interesting became became like this really crossroads of my life not just professionally but also personally because Some this young high school writer and Lou Grant was the head of the screen actors. Go and he was coming. He came to grant the Karen. I'm sorry it has. It has the acronym was ahead of the screen actors guild from this period of time. He's going with. I was like yeah. And he was also the star of Lou Grant And what had happened in this. In that window of time was that he became very outspoken. About the war in Nicaragua Rog. WOAH and Kimberly Clark. Very upset that he was being politically active and they pulled the sponsorship of the grant and was a big and ultimately led to the cancellation of the show. Oh and he didn't really talk about it in the press and I was always kind of really fascinated with the story and I was kind of interested in politics and that weird interesting crossover politics optics entertainment. So he came out to Phoenix to speak at a local chapter meeting. And I went out to this meeting and it was a middle of the summer. It was really. I'm very very hot and He came in and I approached him instead. Like can I interview you for the newspaper. And he is sure he just said but amaze kid you know we'll we'll do the interview but he said I will but you have to wait till after I'm running late in the meetings getting ready to start and I'll come out after and we'll do it great. The meeting went for six hours and I stayed around. I think stayed around. I may have cheated him. I left and came back But I remember him coming out. He was so shocked that I was still around. He gave me the interview. He gave me been office number. And we wind up doing a phone interview and And actually sold the only I think he was the first bit professional writing I ever sold which is also not very good at. It was hard to get them to do the interview and I want them selling it to the magazine. It's called the entertainer which was There was an industry of the beginning of cable of all these independent Yeah TV guides. Yup and And I wrote a couple pieces for them. That was the first one I saw and he but but through that interview Ed introduced me to Martin Sheen Oh and I which I wouldn't do that interview through that. He introduced me to this incredible activists preschool blaze Pantene. That just like got a great name. That's a fantastic And he wound up so basically my my politics got wrapped up in In this kind of the place where politics containment met was super influence. Pretty engaged with these with these two meetings but and also Through that meeting I also figured out a way finagle my way into the nineteen eighty-three Emmy awards and meet a bunch of Powell's or wrong. Yeah he was a very helpful man for me good for you and the other tiniest excuse me and Jillian. That's the other interview. He connected for white hot at that Mojo. Yes she was yeah. She was You you still service. DVD rentals. Don't we still do a couple of million people that still do it. and that's fine sir. There's still a couple of million. Yeah people to anyone else that would be A business in itself. Yeah yeah that'd be a very good business in itself. I wish I had millions of subscribers readers So I find that I think it's there's some combination of you live in a place where the Internet's slow You're maybe at an age where you're not going to change your technology Or sometimes ask someone like you is a huge movie buff and just about everything published on. DVD is still available to service. So it's a one place where you can get all the new stuff and all the old stuff and a new streaming world you know it's very fragmented about what's which you can get where I think significantly having turned your back on those people know those are not numbers. Those are people are people absolutely. You don't and you don't leave money on the table. That's true that's one of business as I never took business administration but I think I got that got that got it. Yeah so how and when did you take a big bite and say all right. We're going to become a source of provider network if you will And what was the first of what. What was the first baby steps? So it back going going if you go all the way back to ninety nine again. Reinstatement all filmed. Entertainment was GONNA come in on the Internet Then I kept asking myself and asking he and I would have these conversations and say well if that's true and I do. I do believe it but if we do believe than we have to believe that. ABC is going to become ABC dotcom. Tom Disney's have become an APP on my television. And they're not GONNA WANNA sell us their stuff anymore and if that comes we'd better get good at making our own content onto our own programming and we better start now And we were there was a magic moment except for an very kind of happenstance. Stance meeting We never this company called. MRC Meteorites capital about something completely unrelated and on the way out the door The guy says to me this weekend. We're going to be pitching a show called House of cards to all this networks and David Fincher is working on a film at Sony. So we're going to do it on on the sound stage at Sony. Do you guys do you want to come here. The pitch and I said what is it and he goes. Oh it's not just the British occurs. I knew the show very well from the from seeing it on DVD VDI afflicts and And he said yes. We bought the rights to do it. And this Guy Bill Willam on has written three amazing scripts and he was nominated for an Oscar. That in that moment for is March he wrote the screenplay for and Kevin Spacey was attached to star. That was a good thing thing than a day Robin Wright was attached to Star and David fincher was going to direct his first television. Is that all. That's all I listen to do that. And I knew the the the original story line and and I said We went you know we thought about for a little bit. I give them a call back and I said you know I. I don't WanNa go here the pitch I want on. I'm saying yes right now and I will come to you on Monday after the pitches and tell you why you should do it with us. And so they heard their pitches at and it was very competitive. AMC HBO. Everybody wanted the show and we had never produced an or released an original anything on Netflix. So there was no reason for them to take this perfect package of television and sell it to us so I figured since there's one hundred reasons they I notice I gotta give him a one big one to say yes and I said we will give you a two season order with no pilot and no notes. That's huge this time of a C- A director season order was pretty rare. You know at this time this is twenty twelve twenty thirteen twenty four twenty any to wealth and And there was so basically the no interfere no creative a bitch give total creative freedom and I remember David even saying well. I might want your feedback. I I bet you don't was the offer you can't refuse and at the time it was you know maybe maybe it was. It was uh-huh ignorance is bliss. You know I didn't know that I was about to screw up the whole TV business. That way but I just this figure we had to do something to overcome all the negatives. Because I would've I wouldn't have sold that show to US situation and And they said yes and so basically they did tell today David Theory Than Theory could've given us twenty six hours of home movies for all that money But I'd say but you do have to put your name on it and I knew the David would not put his name on something. He didn't feel visited in support. Naturally yeah so that was the beginning of it and the timing of it was just that beautiful package that said now am and my thing. My analysis of it was that a straight risk reward that if this show doesn't work we will have terribly overpaid for one when show which were always at risk of doing right and if it does work it could fundamentally change business and it just felt like a great trade off. Are you a gambler. No I'm just I'm just curious but I'm not okay. I got you walk through the Casino right fine but no it didn't but it it felt to to me like the most rational bet ever when you do that sure and And so we said look you know we said we're going to try this. This is the one and we. Ah We pulled the trigger on it. They took about eighteen months to get everything going at the film getting delivered. And in the meantime we got a call I got a call from. I'm an agent. Who represented Steve Van Zandt? And he said would you like to. Can you take a call with Steve Events. And he's very excited about what you're doing house of cards and I go. Steve Evan's out. Of course these massive massive Bruce springsteen fan saw again on the phone with Stevie and he starts telling me about this show that he's in Norway making right now and they said it's called lily the hammer and he's like I'm in Norway producing raw garage band and local brew and in Norway and I met these two writers who are making this great show about a mobsters in the witness witness relocation program who picks Lillehammer Norway Z.. Saw It on the Olympics. Google and it's a fish out of water comedy and you'd love it and we're trying to I meant to be dishonored region show but we're trying to raise some money so I could put better music on the show and would you take a look at it and I have course. Would you send a script over because the episodes over. We're it's almost done with it so we saw. It was again like a kind of a no brainer which I'm watching him play. Basically the same character he played on the Sopranos. Looked like sounds like a like in whatever happened to him one theory was witness relocation and he went to Norway in here and he had a cool relationship with. Hbo Go and David Jays that he created that character so they let him take it up there them taking away the creative sopranos right so he so anyway so we did the show with Stevie that actually became our first launched original show because we wanted to figure out some things. We figured out on this show for us And it was a great hit for a couple of years for us. We really loved it and still do I. Still I still love those episodes But then then we when it came time to like say. How are we going to release? Lisa seem like a strange question but I hadn't thought about everything was all at once. You know what I mean because we always got it a year after television. Put it all up right now. We have something that's going to originate how you're GONNA release it and we looked at what we saw. was that when someone's watching a show on Netflix even going going back to the DVD days. Sometimes you'd watch too. Sometimes you watch three some nights you really until you four but you never watch one so so so we just said look. I don't WanNa try to. I don't WanNa pick and pick wrong. It's just put them up everything else. It wasn't like there wasn't a strategy. It would just like that's how we'll do we'll put it up. Let's see what happens and sure enough. binging was actually going on all the time. Just we just kind of named it But people were Benji. Isn't that crazy crazy to think about you. Know you're talking about Working at a video store and running a video store in Arizona and then then we're here and something like binging you and your company named that at it's become a thing it's funny we didn't name I don't know it's a funny thing because we really resisted the name. Yeah The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece and kind of day coined the phrase binging and we uh-huh a panic because I remember thinking binge it sounds so negative like after binge comes per but we couldn't convince them not to use the word and they came out with binge stock and it turns out to be such a great point and it turned into a positive yes it is and again an impact on the culture that that's that's the stuff it blows. My mind is that we can look at people and say okay. It's you read and you know you ted. And here's here's how how this stuff happened. That is just crazy. It's pretty crazy because you know the other thing that I hope when you think back on all of this be get bit of history of in way That the other thing. I'm really proud about house of cards is not that it was just. The way it was released was Because there's a China I in there. I was the first show to in a primetime. Emmy to never aired on Primetime Television But it was the interesting thing I thought was the It's the first show. Oh that was actually written and produced to be watched like this. You know because everything else on television we put it on after you pull the commercials out. Yeah but But even show for. Hbo Must Be watched once a week. And will we knew. was you know in in linear television. If you're watching a show there's about a thirty thirty forty percent chance you didn't see the last week's episode so they're constantly reminding you in the narrative recap. We sometimes super casualties sometimes really on on the nose and but but what happens over the course of a season is probably fifteen to twenty percent of the storytelling is reminding you. It just happened so if view New People saw the last episode. You wouldn't do any of that. which gives you over the course of a season? A couple of hours of extra Karen Shirk sidebar stories character stories. Raise all these things that you can do that and the other thing was that by doing the two season pickup which was an act of desperation at the time Actually told the writers when they were writing episode one that the there was going to be a twenty-six no matter what yeah so. They're not writing for their life. They're trying to trick the audience into coming back every week. They're not trying to write to act. Act Breaks you know what I mean. Gee whiz now. Last year you hitting a peak with another milestone Roma yeah yet another milestone milestone Black and white on top of everything else black and White House which you know and that's another one where you know we're in telluride on one of the shuttle's with Albert fellow and I say to him like I always do that for publicist friend and I say to him. What are your babies this year? That's what I always refer to the movies as babies. What are your babies this year and he goes you know? I have this movie Roma and I'm so proud of it. And he says to me it's black and white Spanish and and there are no name stars and I said I cannot wait to see what happens and in everybody goes to Roma in telluride and of course thir knocked out and and it's because the talent the way it's written afonso you know all the pieces but then to watch it and that's part of the craziness Nisa of seeing things at certain festivals. Especially is that you do get to see the trajectory right. I get to watch it go from. No one knows what this is is to. It's Oscar time and they're everybody is sitting in that room you know it's it's a very it's a crazy thing to be around. Red Screening was really emotional. Hearing people around me sniffling and crying. which is this really was a moving experience? Well you have this year. You have three three in a lot of product anymore but many TV series many movies. But you have the Irishman which which is a headline making thing to have done. Also to engage Martin Scorsese arguably the finest filmmaker of our hard argue our era and all the actors all those actors and And Stevens Alien Create screenwriter and you have have a the two popes which a lot of people haven't seen yet but ought to with two of the finest actors on the planet Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce and another great Adam we're at a great screenwriter again. McCartan And then on top of that marriage story marriage still just absolutely put me away when I saw to tell your eye and say three of the best. The best reviewed films that you've written about this year because because I'm the one who I you know I post his reviews. Each one of those had more adjectives. You know that's it just so you know. There's some element of luck. Of course you bankroll films and you bankroll TV shows and you hope they're going to turn out well. Yeah and there's no guarantee of no guarantees and But you the men I think there's a business philosophy that has always worked well for me in business that I've applied to the creative part of the bid job as well. which is if you pick the right people and you have the right strategy? Take your okay. You're going to be okay. Picking the right people really matters. And then what you will you should do. Then his give those people all the tools they need to do the best work of their lives. Yes and that will pay off have you. I think what happens. Is People get so nervous about a big bad that they try to might over manage the people who are executing the bet for them and really the. It's like hiring someone to do a job and then you get telling them how to do the job and Back to the David fincher meeting which I want my feedback take notes not doing and I think like you know the I. I think. A lot of comfort. That Martin Scorsese is directing Steve Zaillian script with Al Pacino and Robin Roberts near Joe Patchy and And Al Pacino for the very first time yes I mean. This is an epic thing to happen in Harvey Cartel. Yeah and and the script was incredible so I feel like if we did the picking right. What are we? What are you need to make this? Great another of the most entertaining films. At this year's there's Dolemite US my name and when Scott and Larry came to my class with one of my students who is a little more business savvy than some of the other said. So what was it like working with that flicks as opposed to one of the conventional Hollywood studios Scott said well. They didn't break our hearts because it's compliments go back and they're internally grateful to you for not only making the movie happen Fan which Eddie had wanted to Eddie Murphy had wanted to do for so long long. Yeah but then you let them do it. Yeah and that's your philosophy. Yeah Yeah I definitely would they. They and by the way and they delivered the movie. They pitched which is also not always the case but they really delivered exactly what they said they were going to and it was for for me I remember. It was that lightning bolt of seeing Eddie as remorse in the room. I can't I can't imagine sitting in your office that moment. We're at ease on set playing rudy on stage and while inbetween takes. He just starts riffing with the with the audience full of extras and everyone was on the floor late. They were Eddie Murphy concert and you could see it in his eyes and he was just like. Oh I miss this man. Oh Man Yeah. It was pretty incredible. Wow Ah okay but this like you said the timing that the that these movies all kind of come together They've all. They were all over a pretty varied period of time Two two popes was a pitch. You know more than it was anything at that point wasn't a script and And I think Like like Dolemite. Eddie Martin Scorsese tried right for thirteen years to get the Irishman made and remember that the technology to finish the Irishman didn't really exist when green the film and the the bat that was is that it would catch up. You know in the course of the time it would take to make the movie More than that was like well. If we don't get this movie made pretty soon. I was worried that it never would get made. You know the way that these these guys have been trying to make it and so we put it was a leap of faith. That Martin Scorsese was GonNa make take a great mob. Movie does not that hard to bed and then I in the just the notion that he had never directed Al Pacino before. Couldn't even imagine how that was possible and and I have a good as a film. Geek wouldn't experience I've had with the you know the ebb sitting in the room sometimes with these with them. I have Alpa Chino telling the stories about about Dog Day afternoon that just like the whole I mean just those stories are worth. The cost of entry has been a critic at one point remember sitting in March trailer in onset. I said Marty Oh no not at all after awhile. He's totally but seeing it was and it was he and Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio was visiting. The set sat there and listened to de Niro Pacino swap stories and at one point. Al Pacino tells the story about A mob hit that happened in Columbus Square A New York while they were working being on the godfather and I had that hit. It just hit me out of the blue. Oh yeah you're Michael Corleone chillier with Mike Corley Well so cool. That's it's sounds like it sounds like it's really cool to be you know I I. I'm not kidding you I'm I am. I'm as fortunate as they come. I mean people getting some people talk about how they get to live their dream their dream Jones. This is a hundred percent a dream come true. I feel like the people get to work with is like like I'm walking. Among God's you know and I and I do feel like what they have such going all the way back to that. The kid in the chaotic house cooking such the people that are in that that were in that. I wanted to be with those people in that box and I never even I thought in my wildest dreams that might be in any way responsible for those shorts I would like to see him every once in a while. I would've been unhappy Giddy a Selfie with Martin expensive two years ago now. There's another no film that I mentioned in all fairness because I got a the keyboard screener screener. No no no. No you have a lot on your cools movie. The Black Godfather. Yep Yeah what. What an interesting movie? Your wife Nicole daughter of a remarkable man. Yes a remarkable man named Clarence Avant. Yeah and I didn't really know about out him. Yeah this film and it's what a what an amazing life. What an amazing story? Yeah I mean. That's that's an incredible life and the the fact that he's with us and I can draw an him for you know for business advice at a time and he's just he's a remarkable guy who figured out early on the he had some power in this world and decided to use it to advance the causes of black people Across Entertainment Sports Film Music And so much he really chained away. Utah you but you so kindly said about people who change things I mean clarence has been you know was an agent of change for years and years and years and really an unsung hero And so my wife had. That always wanted to make this film shows to tell his stories wasn't ever sure it was a film or a book or whatever But did she pitched the film to You. Well it's a fair question now. I I mean this was a story that someone should make La always had through over the years. Different people saying someone should make a documentary. About Clarence and Netflix has been like the center of documentary films for years and years even back to the DVD. He days. And I couldn't stand the idea. The thought that that documented anywhere else even though those is there a conflict of interests yes but the bigger conflict would be that movie. HBO and I have to have Thanksgiving but it was an amazing producer. Even though she'd not produce the film before for because she produces everything she produces I mean she constantly he's constantly producing and wants to be her best friend phenomenal. She saw Barack Obama coming before. Everyone else coming So she you know. She's got an incredible incredible eye for talent. In that way. There are other things that you wanted a good producer and the film came out so strong so powerful and I was like one of those things where I could have been just a a love letter to her dad and it's a really important piece of American American history and black history music history and And I'm just so proud of her in the movie. Got Named by the National Board of Review. One of the top five documentaries here And then at the kind of in the eleventh hour of the production We screened it for for Al Williams. who was so moved by the movie that he offered offered to do? An original song for the I should say offered. Nicole said you're making your produce you're making an original song and he sure enough to turn that cantor exactly exactly and in. He'd made the this incredible song. Litter to my godfather was so incredible getting to see him. Perform the song So there it's it's a really great film real accomplishment of a Reggie huddled on the director Nicole the producer and with testimony on camera from two. US President to US presidents residents. Yeah Yeah Pretty Amazing and Garin and Oh yeah the list if we start listing bill withers Mason. Yeah no it's really unbelievable. Lee Bullets one. It's almost like You know people have pitched it as different things before like The forrest Gump of the bridge to everywhere. Yeah Yeah Yeah and if you haven't seen it folks well we're CSC Netflix. Find it on Netflix Netflix. One last business question. Because I don't want people to say well you sitting there surrounded us. Ask him cream. Puff question all right. So here's here's how Edwin. Here's a tough question. Are you worried. Are you worried about the upcoming Competition can you. You really have had a playground for a long time as Netflix. Being a pioneer being the first one up that hill yeah to make this happen into get people interested in streaming to get people to subscribe to get people to Binge and you've been right there leading the charge but now you're going to have some pretty heavy duty competition Disney Warner All those other folks. So we've been competing with all those folks from the beginning in fact we've been competing competing With with pretty much the same essentially the same programming but on legacy other legacy platforms. And now they're you know they're we're going to compete on our platform. which is you know? It's okay it's a to me. I feel like I'm competitions. Great it's great for consumers because it makes everybody you know work harder. It AH pushes everybody creatively you think about the kind of in the earlier days when HBO was the only Person Making Great TV only company can be and then AMC got into the game even push them and they pushed each other and then we got into the game and pushed it again. And I think there's a great cycle of constant improvement that comes from competition some very excited about that and as a company. We've never really spent much time talking about two competitors and I've always encourage people not to and instead focus on the customer focus on the viewer because has We have a couple of things that go on Netflix. Make us very unique. One is you can have been most powerful one is you can do a way. You said so easy just to push play and find something great you could also push one key and cancel us so we are constantly being evaluated by our members. And they're saying am. I getting joy for my money Netflix. If not keep David cancel so we focus on creating great like holy cow entertainment moments for subscribers. That makes them not second. Guess you you know their membership money every month So that in that and that hasn't changed so would I have to do today. Is exactly what we've been doing for twenty years. which is we have have to deliver your favorite movie or TV show seamlessly and that that has not changed as new competitors coming and you look calm yes you don't look I am one of those people know Joe I have net flicks on every single day because I put it on when I'm going to go to sleep if I want to put on great great British bake off something to relax me? I'm in the middle of watching the staircase. I'm a documentary. I watch every documentary Tell me who I am. I'm like you name it. I watch every dock and so for me. It's a joy it really is. It's a joy and love finding stuff and I think that's what my my fellow movie nerds are excited about is that we just keep getting to see so much from so many people big names huge names and then young people an Mindy folks no kidding have never had a platform like NBC and member. It's not the people because we put we produced. You do produce a lot of programming people. Are you afraid. You'RE GONNA run out of storytellers storytellers. You can run out of ideas. We'll if I'd said if you think all the great ideas come from Los Angeles California yes we we have found creative show show runners and writers all over the world making an amazing we have Lori none who runs the show called sex education from the UK. She's in her Chew Dinner Twenty. She's an international television show runner. Now there's a group of writers collective of writers who created a show on an influx in Italy called baby. The youngest one was eighteen seventeen or eighteen years old when they started doing the show. You know they would be a youtube creators. Ar International Television show right now and On the film side this again. It's kind of Nice being around the ecosystem we're making Spike Lee's next movie right now and spike is a professor at Nyu. Oh he has a student named Stefan Bristol who made a incredible Thesis film called. Cu yesterday and he said tat. I'm telling you this student has got something that's not I've seen before he has a student. Film was amazing and he has a take on how to adapt into a feature. It needs this much money. I'll keep an eye on it. Will you give them a shot. Absolutely it's doing and he made this great movie called see you yesterday that has been seen by millions of people all over the world and just got nominated for two independent spirit awards and we're so oh proud of him and it's just like these. These opportunities didn't come around when you had you know one way to get your film out or your TV show on television and there were three networks. Three hours of Primetime So this is the best time in the history of entertainment. It'd be a creator. Gary Girls Setting my dad. You have to walk. You'RE GONNA laugh. You have to watch the show my mom and my Dad Watch and Caracazo funny end of the all say effing end of the world brilliant show I just binge season two. I thought I thought it would be hard to top season. He's a two race. It's so good but that's it. There's a as I say it's I'm excited makes me excited sighted. And that's what that by the way. That is what we have to do every day. That's a that's a pretty nice way to get out of bed in the morning. Well it's very kind of you to carve out an hour of your busy be busy Smile to talk to us. I joist when I when we ran into each other. I am was As thrilled to see you as as as anyone and so it's really great Finally do this. We talked about this quite a while we got to do it for your busier. Continued talks about our our cool thing. We've got to see Defending your life. All Gosh. Gosh I don't know maybe we should keep that private. Just I wouldn't WANNA okay. I wouldn't want to wrestle each other's I I am a monster Albert Brooks Fan me too. Yeah and so that was. We had a nice experience small setting getting and it turns out to be my one of my. Actually her favorite movie of all time was defending your life. One of mine is one of Mine Has Lost America but my wife's favorite is is a nest egg in concept and as you say the word nest egg birds living round sticks. Thanks once again to thank you to have you here. And where do people find us. We're not doing this. Jesse you are at Leonard Maltin At Jesse Maltin on twitter and INSTAGRAM. And you can and Leonard Maltin DOT COM for movie reviews book roundups and all kinds of good stuff and you can check out our patriot. PATRIOTIC DOT com slash maltin on movies Patriot dot dot com slash maltin on movies. Thanks for your support and thanks for listening. Today's episode of Maltin on movies is brought to you by Legion M. The world's first fan owned entertainment company. If you love movies as much as we do why not own a piece of them find out more at W._W._W.. Dot Legion M DOT com.

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