Netflix Creatives talk about why they’re partnering with Streaming Giant – The Hollywood Reporter

At a meeting at Netflix’s Amsterdam office on Monday, multiple creatives spoke about how working with the streaming giant has allowed them to authentically tell stories and make their voices heard around the world.

Mandla Walter Dube from South Africa (Jiva!, Silverton siege), Belgian-Dutch writer/producer Nico Moolenaar (Secret, Ferry), Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (Troll), Jordanian director Tima Shomali (Al Rawabi School for Girls) and the German writer Katharina Eyssen (The Empress) shared their experiences in an event set up for reporters.

Shomali said creating for Netflix was about “freedom” to “tell stories I believe in and want to be heard.” She added, “I always call Netflix the global village of the world where all countries meet” and creatives get a chance to be seen.

Meanwhile, Dube said the streaming company opened up opportunities for storytellers. “I always tell my students: don’t go to Hollywood anymore. Let Hollywood come to you,” he said. “I think this is a good example of what Netflix has done.” And he shared that he also felt the end of traditional restrictions. “For me, being supported that you can tell your story in your own original language, and you think, ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Yes, that’s possible.’ And it literally, for me, decolonizes the lens. I don’t need to see my world, my soul in an English setup.”

Uthaug similarly said that when a big American company signs up to make a maker’s film, they traditionally fear “that they’re going to run over you and use you as a puppet, but that wasn’t the case at all with Netflix, he said. “We were given great freedom” and “a lot of support in making the movie I wanted to make and supporting my vision for the movie.” As a result, he was able to make an “authentically Norwegian” movie about trolls for Netflix instead of an Americanized version of his story.

When asked what other stories he would like to tell, Uthaug said, “I think there might be more trolls out there.”

Meanwhile, German maker Eyssen discussed the success of the royal drama set in Germany and Austria The Empress. “It was very moving and very humbling for me to see it hit not only in Germany, but all over the world,” she shared. “I was so moved by the messages I received from all over the world, from people from Nigeria and South America, many from Colombia, many from the United States and the UK and Canada. I was completely overwhelmed. And we were successful in Ukraine, which is of course very important for us as Europeans.”

However, Eyssen also highlighted the intense back and forth with her Netflix contact to ensure the best cut of the show. “I was crying in the editing room because my supervisor and I were fighting so hard,” she said, but also praised the feedback for making her work better. “I really learned to take my work to the next level.”

At the same event on Monday, Larry Tanz, VP, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Netflix, discussed what subscribers are watching and how more stories are emerging from around the world. And Netflix executive chairman Reed Hastings and co-CEO Greg Peters talked about taking risks, as well as their focus on member satisfaction and profitability.

Netflix, which closed 2022 with 230.75 million subscribers, is expanding its presence and production operations in several international markets.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) quietly became the streamer’s largest region in terms of subscribers in 2022, overtaking the combined user figure of 74.3 million for the US and Canada with 76.7 million. Last year’s revenue was $9.75 billion, with an average revenue per user (ARPU) of $10.99, compared to $15.86 for the US and Canada.

Ampere Analysis has said that Netflix has become the second largest TV company in Europe in terms of European revenue, accounting for 7.7 percent in 2022, before including online video ad revenue, which the streamer was just starting at to take. According to the company’s analysts, that was only behind Comcast with 10.3 percent of all European TV revenue from subscription streaming, pay TV, public TV and TV advertising.

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