How VP of original content Cindy Holland and the rest of her team are working to mine other countries for streaming gold.
Streaming Service‚Äôs Plans For Global Domination
When Netflix first began producing original series five years ago, VP of original content Cindy Holland was a one-woman department. ‚ÄúIt was me, effectively,‚Äù the veteran Netflix executive said at the company‚Äôs Los Gatos, California-based headquarters during a ‚ÄúNetflix Labs‚Äù event.
This lack of infrastructure ‚Äúgave us the opportunity to really look at best practices in the industry and think about how it would work best for us,‚Äù Holland went on, by way of explaining Netflix‚Äôs unique approach to making TV: no pilots, no ratings, and, of course, allowing its users to binge on entire new seasons of shows.
Today those quirks‚Äìor innovations, depending on where you sit in the entertainment ecosystem‚Äìare old news; everyone is familiar with Netflix‚Äôs House of Cards-fueled foray into original content. What has changed since the days when Holland was running the TV side of things solo (she now oversees a team) is that Netflix has morphed into an international service that streams in nearly every country around the world. This fast-paced growth has meant that the company‚Äôs dedication to improving models now extends to just about everything it does. Another reveal at Labs Day was that it has even created an online translation test, called Hermes, that helps it recruit the best foreign talent to dub its shows and movies.
And then there‚Äôs the way Netflix now thinks about and creates content, which it‚Äôs ponying up $6 billion for in 2017, a portion of which will go toward original series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. But if it was those shows that put Netflix on the map, today a show like 3% is the blueprint for moving forward. That series, described as a ‚ÄúBrazilian Hunger Games,‚Äù has become a hit in the U.S., according to Netflix, despite being an entirely Brazilian production starring local actors. Part of what helped the series become a success outside of Brazil was that Netflix dubbed it for English-speaking markets. But more importantly, it‚Äôs a show with broad enough themes and characters (dystopian future populated by attractive twentysomethings) that helped it cross borders. Other local language productions that are in the works, such as Dark, Netflix‚Äôs first German-produced series, and Italy‚Äôs Suburra, are similarly intended to ‚Äútranslate globally,‚Äù Holland said.