Netflix Will Lean Into Local Language Unscripted and Animated Films Going Forward, Ted Sarandos Says

The streamer’s co-CEO pointed to  the success of “Beckham” and “Leo”

Ted Sarandos
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos attends the Los Angeles premiere of "Beef" (Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images)

Looking to the future, Netflix will be focusing more on international unscripted series and animated movies. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos elaborated on the move at UBS’ Global Media and Communication Conference on Monday.

The revelation came after Sarandos was asked if there was any pool of content he felt was “under-penetrated.” To answer the question, Sarandos revealed that he thinks about these questions in terms of Netflix’s own “life cycles.” By his estimate, the company has spent about 10 years developing original content, roughly five years making original films and four years making unscripted content.

“We’re just starting on things like our local language unscripted initiatives. In many parts of the world, television watching is dominated by unscripted television,” Sarandos said.

The streamer head went on to point out that the “lion’s share” of the top 50 most-watched shows in the U.K. are unscripted series that take place in the region. He also noted that Netflix has seen “big successes” in the U.K. thanks to the docuseries “Beckham.” A week after the series premiered on Netflix, Sarandos noted that David Beckham’s social media following grew by 1 million followers. He also praised the South Korean reality show “Physical: 100” as a local language Korean unscripted series that found a large international audience.

“We’ll be focusing a lot more energy on local language unscripted,” Sarandos said. “So, for me, that’s one area. The other is is a feature animation. I know this sounds kind of old fashioned, but since Nielsen has been tracking streaming, eight of the top 10 movies ever streamed are all animated features.”

He went on to note that these metrics were based on viewing hours and that there is a good deal of repeat viewing when it comes to animated features. Sarandos also revealed that the Adam Sandler-starring movie “Leo” was the streamer’s best launch of an animated feature to date.

“It adds a ton of value. There’s plenty of appetite for more than the few films a year that we’re currently doing,” Sarandos said. “So we’re excited there, and then we’re enhancing our own animation that with our deal with Skydance to put out a couple of other films per year starting next year.”


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