Netflix's Ted Sarandos Dismisses News, Credits Algorithm for Hit Show

Exploring Netflix's global strategy and content success.

by Nouman Rasool
Netflix's Ted Sarandos Dismisses News, Credits Algorithm for Hit Show
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In a candid interview with The New York Times, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos detailed the streaming giant’s strategic direction, underscoring their disinterest in integrating news into their platform despite their expansion into diverse content forms like live sports.

Sarandos emphasized that Netflix is not the go-to platform for breaking news, explaining that there are ample existing channels for such content and their audience does not seek news from them. "We don’t do breaking news and that kind of thing, because I think there’s a lot of other outlets for it.

People aren’t looking to us for that," he stated, suggesting a cautious yet open approach to exploring new territories that align with their model. The conversation also touched upon Netflix's recent success with the British series 'Baby Reindeer,' which Sarandos attributed to the platform’s robust algorithm that aids in discovering and promoting shows that resonate well in one region to a global audience.

He highlighted the show's massive popularity in the UK which then translated to worldwide success, showcasing Netflix's capability to scale regional content internationally without losing its authenticity.

Authenticity Drives Success

Further elaborating on content strategy, Sarandos discussed the international appeal of series that remain true to their cultural origins, suggesting that authenticity drives global success more effectively than content specifically engineered to appeal to diverse markets.

He cited examples from Netflix’s recent viewership data, which showed a strong preference for international content among their subscribers, with shows like the German miniseries 'Dear Child' and the British series 'S-x Education' season four garnering top spots.

In addition to content discussions, Sarandos shared insights on internal challenges and strategic priorities for Netflix as it continues to grow. He expressed concerns about how the company could maintain operational excellence at scale, noting it had to change and grow but not become too nostalgic or out-of-touch with today's media environment.

De la Chapelle's ability to talk about the very diverse content on Netflix, from indie hits to niche offerings made for certain audiences, where, for instance, a romantic comedy like 'Irish Wish', once in a while damned by some quarters of critics, was a favorite of the fans.

This one, according to Sarandos, is the best explanation for what drives every move Netflix makes in its approach to quality—viewer satisfaction and engagement above conventional critical acclaim.