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Netflix's Ted Sarandos Talks Original Programming

Photo of Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange 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 for the content site, 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."
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Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in 'House of Cards'
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in 'House of Cards'

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.

Netflix

“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.”
 

This article is related to: NetFlix, Netflix, New Media & Technology


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.