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Netflix’s Sarandos Wants to Do What No Other Studio Has Done Before

Fern Siegel

The new co-CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, has been with the streamer for 20 years. And to note his achievements, he’s receiving Variety’s Vanguard Award at Mipcom, given to those who have made a major contribution to the business of global entertainment.

Netflix’s standing — 193 million subscribers worldwide, 37 Emmys, eight Oscars and a production deal with the Obamas — speaks for itself. And Sarandos has been a key element in that success.

Part of Sarandos’ strategy is always keeping an eye on the future.

For example, in an interview with Variety, he mused that Netflix offered DVDs by mail before “Blockbuster even had a DVD on their shelves.” The once DVD mailing visionary is now a content-creating studio, spending double-digit billions on productions each year.

But, just like he made the transition from DVDs to streaming, and from streaming others content to original content, now Sarandos wants to do something that no other studio has done before…with animation.

“Our animation ambition right now is not just to step up and be as big as someone who’s doing it today — we’re on a path to be releasing six animated features a year, which no major studio has ever done, on top of the very healthy slate of animated series,” Sarandos told Variety.

There are also more rivals in the field, such as Disney+, Peacock and Amazon Prime Video, but Sarandos isn’t worried. “I think it’s great that there’s more people doing what we’re doing, because I think it keeps us sharp.”

But what he thinks separates the streamer from everyone else is its commitment to a singular focus.

“There’s still a thing called Disney Plus, it’s not just all called Disney,” Sarandos said to Variety. “There’s still HBO Max and HBO. As soon as it’s one big HBO, you’ll know that they’re taking that really seriously. Everyone’s at a different level of commitment to the next phase of delivery to consumers.”