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Netflix’s Sarandos on Disney+: Ability to Create A Brand Out of Thin Air, As Valuable As Franchises

Jason Gurwin

One of the distinct advantages Disney has with it’s upcoming launch for Disney+, is that it has a large library catalog of franchises. This means that they not only have existing content, but can leverage them to create new shows or movies for Disney+. Out of the gate, they will have The Mandalorian, which comes from the Star Wars, as well as a live-action version of The Lady and The Tramp. The company is also creating shows around Pixar films like Monsters At Work and Marvel like Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, acknowledges that “established IP has a leg up with consumers”, but he cautions not to forget the “power of brand creation.” One example he gave was the premiere of Tall Girl, which had a mostly unknown cast, saw their social media following grow “into the millions.” With over 40 million households watching the show, Sarandos says that they have “the ability to create a brand almost out of thin air.”

Sarandos feels that the value in that is that they don’t run the risk of franchises “waiting to burn out.” But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see the value in them. “We see the value of franchises like Stranger Things and Black Mirror….but great stories are what matter, and the way that they reach consumers.”

One name brand they did spend a reported $500 million to acquire the rights to was hit sitcom Seinfeld. With the loss of Friends and The Office, from their catalog — Netflix needed a major asset for their library. “We have seen a few titles in the history of television, Seinfeld being one of them, that continue to be incredibly relevant 30 years after it came out on television, and get watched every night.”

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