By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood September 20, 2012 at 5:59PM
It is not news that chief content officer of Netflix Ted Sarandos is on the hunt for original programming, competing for content with the likes of HBO snd Showtime. That's why the DVD rental site, which has been making the transition to online streaming, chased down David Fincher's high-price series starring Kevin Spacey based on the British series "House of Cards." Fincher is in production on this very expensive show which Netflix has had a tough time keeping under control.
Nick Summers of Newsweek/The Daily Beast calls Sarandos "the single largest buyer of movies and TV series in Hollywood." The move to pursue original programming marked a big shift for the site. While Amazon is also searching for content, and Hulu released its first series last winter, "Battleground," plus three original summer series, Netflix launched "Lilyhammer" and hopes to premiere five original series over the next year. Sarandos is clear that he wants these series to be top quality.
“We never thought we’d operate without competition. We’re surprised it’s taken this long,” Sarandos told investors last week at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. “The most-watched content on Netflix is exclusive to Netflix.”
The big question is what quality control Netflix will have over these series. The Palo Alto company run by engineers has never been in the production business. So the end results will tell the final tale. Sarandos tells the Daily Beast: "We [are] really moving forward on original series, and that we were going to do it well by not doing what everyone else does.”