Not The Obama Network: Netflix executive addresses left-leaning concerns after Obama deal
The streaming giant is looking to tap into the non-scripted programming market through its collaboration with the Obamas
In a bid to outdo its competitors in the streaming faction, Netflix recently forged a multiyear deal with Barack and Michelle Obama, enabling the former first couple to produce original content in terms of films and shows.
Since the announcement, though, many have raised concerns over the political leaning of market-leading Netflix, especially in the light of the company entering into a production agreement with the Obamas.
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix, potentially including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features.— Netflix US (@netflix) May 21, 2018
Speaking at a recent media event, the chief content officer for the streaming giant, Ted Sarandos, addressed these concerns and opened up about why Netflix signed the deal in the first place.
“This is not The Obama Network, it’s not the MSNBC shift,” Sarandos told the crowd at the Paley Center for Media in New York this Tuesday, adding, “There’s no political slant to the programming.” The CCO further went on to assure subscribers that in collaboration with Obamas' Higher Ground Productions, the streaming giant is looking at tapping into the non-scripted programming market, for cooking and talk shows.
"I think that there is a place to make very engaging, profitable unscripted content, but for us it doesn't drive a lot of subscriptions yet, so we've got to figure all that math out," the Netflix executive was quoted as saying.
Upon being prodded by journalist Ken Auletta, however, Sarandos noted, "it's hard to argue there's not a left lean to the creative community."
"I didn't want to see that deal go anywhere else, because I think they're going to be great at it," he added, clarifying the streamer's position in the production agreement.
Apart from talking about bringing the Obamas into the mix, Sarandos also discussed the importance of ratings, especially from the media end, saying, “The press, God love ’em, are a little lazy.”
And the final word was in defense of Adam Sandler, who recently entered into a deal with Netflix.
“People love Adam Sandler,” explained Sarandos. “No matter what the media elite and critics were saying about his films, people loved them.”