Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, defended why the company decided to cancel two major shows, The Get Down and Sense8.
During the Produced by Conference on Saturday with Jerry Seinfeld, Sarandos explained, “We couldn’t support those economics. If you put all your money into something that a very few people are watching, eventually you’ll have nothing for people to watch.”
Regarding The Get Down, Sarandos explained, “We mounted a big, huge Baz Luhrmann production. It took years to make. Creatively, I couldn’t be any more proud of the show, and I think people really fell in love with it. Fresh new faces, an under-told story, a beautiful production. But relative to what it cost to make, we couldn’t put together enough audience to support those economics.”
Sarandos explained the high cost to make Sense8 and traveling around the world to film in eight different cities simultaneously was expensive.
It broke all kinds of new ground, being a show rooted in concepts of gender and identity… They made a beautiful show. We did two seasons of it and a movie in between. Similarly, the audience was very passionate but just not large enough to support the economics of something that big, even in our platform.”
That said, Sarandos defended the company’s decision to never release ratings or the number of people watching shows on the platform, arguing it would have a negative impact on content creators. Sarandos explained that when it is a hit show “you know”, using 13 Reasons Why as an example.
Instead, Sarandos believes it is all about how much you invest into the production.
“It would start an arms race where, this show’s a hit because this many people watched it, this show’s not because of these numbers, and that’s really only relative to how much money you put into it.”