UPDATED with comments from Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos
As competition for top talent intensifies, Netflix used its earnings results to send a message to Hollywood’s talent: we’re the new star factory.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings observed that the streaming giant has come a long way since it launched the original series, House of Cards, five years ago. This year, he noted, it collected 112 Emmy nominations for 40 of its shows, documentaries and specials, and tied the long dominant premium TV channel, HBO, for the most wins (23).
“We’re also thrilled that Netflix has been a launching pad for a new generation of global stars like Millie Bobby Brown, Jacob Elordi, Noah Centineo and Gaten Matarazzo,” said Hastings. “When our service helps our talent develop huge fan bases … we can attract the best talent in the world.”
Netflix took the extraordinary step of charting the social media ascent of its young stars of Stranger Things, The Kissing Booth, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Ridiculousness (a Jedi move for a service that won’t share actual streaming data with the shows’ creators).
“This explosive growth in popularity is a good indicator that our shows and stars are breaking out around the planet,” Hastings wrote in his note to investors.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, during Netflix’s investor conference, that these almost-overnight sensations are testament to Netflix’s ability to “pierce the culture.”
“You see in the long list of … newly minted stars this quarter, you can see what we mean by putting content into the culture and into the zeitgeist,” said Sarandos. “If it’s really great, it can get nominated and win Emmys and win Oscars.”
Sarandos said creators know Netflix is willing to commit the money to market new shows and launch aggressive awards campaigns.
“They’re seeing that in big numbers from us,” Sarandos said. “We tied with HBO with the number of Emmy wins this year.”
Hastings and Sarandos appear to be signaling to talent to keep thinking of Netflix, as rivals WarnerMedia, the soon-to-be merged Disney/Fox and tech giant Apple launch their own streaming services. These new entrants add to an already crowded entertainment space occupied by established media companies and entrenched online players like Google’s YouTube.
All of these players, new and established, will be vying for for top talent as well as subscribers.
“Amid these massive competitors on both sides, plus traditional media firms, our job is to make Netflix stand out so that when consumers have free time, they choose to spend it with our service,” said Hastings.
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