“New is always scary to the old and it is always about money and profit margins,” said Kurt Sutter today about the digital distribution and content models of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. “And the talk right now is how do we make money because we are all selling either soap or subscriptions,” the often blunt Sons of Anarchy producer added. “The upside for everyone at this table is we may not know what it looks like or what the profit margins are but more people want our content,” he also said. Sutter was appearing on this year’s Produced By Conference’s Hit The Ground Showrunning panel along with House of Cards‘ Beau Willimon, Parenthood‘s Jason Katims and The Big C creator Darlene Hunt. “I’m dying to do something for Netflix. They say we’ll throw money at you and leave you alone,” joked Hunt. The producer and performer added that her current deal with Sony limits her right now from going to do a project with the likes of Netflix but she wants that to change. “I’ve told them, you have to figure it out or I won’t reup my deal,” she added. Hunt inked a two-year seven-figure overall deal with Sony Pictures TV in early April.
Earlier in the panel at the Zanuck Theater on the Fox lot, Willimon told the crowd about how he, David Fincher, Kevin Spacey and the other House of Cards producers agreed that if they didn’t get a full season order off the bat from a broadcaster they would just walk away from the project. “So we met with Netflix and Ted Sarandos said, ‘We want at least a full time season, maybe two.’ I thought, this is insane, this is like Orson Wells’ RKO deal,” Willimon said. Netflix picked up House of Cards for two seasons with Season 1 debuting simultaneously on February 1. The company, which recently released a reboot of Arrested Development, has said that they gained up to 2 million subscribers thanks to the political drama. Noting that because House of Cards was Netflix’s first big original series the company didn’t have any development executives and the producers were able to make the series in relative isolation. “They kept their word and pretty much left us alone,” He added to laughter from his fellow panelists. Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Sarandos has said that the streaming service intends to up its content spending on original series from the current level of 5% to 15% in the next couple years.
Produced By continues today and Sunday.