Advanced Television

Netflix: ‘Disney deal is game changer’

December 6, 2012

A day after announcing a major deal with Disney, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said they were determined to secure more exclusive programme rights and develop additional original content.

With the Disney deal, Netflix beat out Starz, which currently has the pay-TV rights, for new titles from Disney. Harvey Weinstein, cofounder of The Weinstein Company, told a UBS conference in New York the deal was a game changer.

With its first original show House of Cards, Sarandos noted that they would be making all 13 episodes available at one time, which is a very different programming and promotional strategy than traditional premium channels, and that they would not be focusing on ratings. “Ratings are an irrelevant number,” Sarandos noted. “The relevant number is subscribers and growth in subscribers.”

He also pointed that having all the episodes available changes viewing patterns so creators don’t have to spend as much time recapping past story lines for viewers who might have missed earlier episodes. Creators traditionally spent about “one-third on catch-up,” he noted. “If you don’t do that, then you have all this extra time for additional storytelling.”

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