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Netflix Co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos Discuss Executive Realignment, Content Strategies Amid Pandemic

Torrey Hart

After releasing the company’s Q2 2020 earnings report today, Netflix executives spoke during a video interview posted on YouTube about its executive realignment and content strategy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Longtime content chief Ted Sarandos is now co-CEO of Netflix alongside Reed Hastings. Sarandos – who joined Netflix in 2000 – will also remain chief content officer in the realignment, while Chief Product Officer Greg Peters will take on the additional role of chief operating officer.

“As co-CEO, it’s two of us full-time, it’s not a part-time deal,” Hastings said. “It’s definitely broadening the management team and helping us grow faster over the next 10 years.”

The streaming giant reported 10 million new subscribers in Q2, bringing its total to nearly 193 million globally. The increase is below what Netflix saw between the end of Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, when its total subscribers jumped by 15.77 million as COVID-19 pandemic-induced shutdowns first hit.

Sarandos said that some of Netflix’s new production policies introduced as a result of the pandemic may stay in place long term.

“It’s been remarkable how nimble the teams have been, going from full-blown production to complete shutdown, to ramping back up all over the world in the space of a few months. I think some of the things like the safety protocols that we’re putting into place around the world will become a permanent part of production, which is a good thing,” Sarandos said. “I think this time in between the shutdown and ramping back up, the extra time that was spent on scripts and development and preparedness will make the shoots actually more efficient, which I think will stick around.”

“I think we’ll just be better and smarter, the way we’ve come out of many tragic things in our history,” Sarandos added.

Sarandos also discussed Netflix’s recent push in the unscripted, competition and reality TV space with shows like “Too Hot to Handle” and “The Floor is Lava.”

“The big motivation to invest in reality and unscripted is not the cost-savings in production, but the love people have for this programming and how important it’s become in people’s lives,” Sarandos said. “If we’re trying to be more and more your go-to destination for entertainment, not to ignore an area of programming that is dominating broadcasts.”

Asked about Netflix’s targets in expanding its library, and potential ability to take risks with its content, Hastings said the service “wants to be your best friend.”

“We want to have so many hits that when you come to Netflix, you can just go from hit, to hit, to hit, and never have to think about any of those other services,” Hastings said. “And of course, there’s ‘Hamilton,’ and you’re going to go to someone else’s service for an extraordinary film. But, for the most part, we want to the be the one that can always please you — the convenient, simple, easy choice.”

Netflix remains the dominant streamer in the market right now, but Disney+ has also gained major traction and reached 50 million subscribers since its launch last November – thanks in part to the aforementioned “Hamilton” release – and has proven to be a viable competitor.

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