Thursday, March 17, 2011, 10:05 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondI'm pleased to provide an audio recording of an on-stage one-on-one interview I did with Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, at the NATPE Market conference on January 25th. I've been meaning to post this for a while, but experienced a few technical issues in getting it done. The interview is particularly timely given news this week that Netflix may be looking to distribute its first original TV series, "House of Cards," directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey.
In this wide-ranging interview, Ted and I discuss topics such as Netflix's content acquisition strategy, how it decides how much to spend on licensing, the critical role that data plays in informing Netflix's decision-making, the future of the DVD business and lots more. Of note, this is the interview in which Ted said that Netflix would bid against HBO for Warner Bros. films when those parties' distribution deal comes up for renewal in a couple of years and that Netflix had the resources to fully compete. That declaration was a departure from Netflix's traditional public posture about working closely with premium cable networks rather than disrupting them, and set off a raft of media coverage.
Since Ted runs the content operation at Netflix, there's no better source for anyone trying to get insight into the company's plans. As in my other interactions with Ted, I once again found him refreshingly candid (as compared with other more-guarded senior executives I talk to), keenly aware of the trends buffeting the entertainment industry, and highly cognizant of the powerful role Netflix is playing in the ecosystem.
The audio runs just over 50 minutes, including a short introduction from NATPE president Rick Feldman, and from session sponsor Eric Rovner of William Morris Endeavor. At the end there are a few audience questions and Ted's answers included. Note the audio quality is variable as we were recording poolside at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and there was a howling wind coming off the ocean that morning creating some static in our mics. A written transcript of the session is also available here.