Netflix “looking at docs” as subs grow

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the VoD platform is "actively looking right now" at several documentaries, as the company announced it has hit 40 million subscribers. (Pictured: feature doc Bridegroom)
October 22, 2013

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the video-on-demand platform is “actively looking right now” at several documentaries, as the company announced it has hit 40 million subscribers.

The digital platform said yesterday (October 21) it added more than 10 million subscribers over the last year, taking it to 40 million members overall, 31 million of which are in the U.S. The latest quarterly financial results also highlighted revenues of US$1.1 billion and a net profit of $32 million for Q3 2013.

In a conference call with analysts, Sarandos said: “we are actively looking right now at a few documentary projects that will premiere on Netflix versus more traditional windows.”

He also indicated that Netflix would look to become more aggressive in securing earlier transmission rights. “Today we are kind of held to the traditional pay television model, meaning movies are not coming to Netflix until they hit pay television almost a year after they are in theatres,” he said.

“Even though that window is moving, I don’t know that it is moving aggressively enough for people. So I think that the more we could be aggressive with windowing by taking more control over the content earlier in the process – that would be good for us, for our members.”

The news comes after Netflix earlier this month acquired Bridegroom (pictured above), a documentary about marriage equality which this year won the audience awards for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Toronto Inside Out Festival and the Little Rock Film Festival, as well as the prize for Outstanding Documentary Feature at Outfest in LA.

Prior to that acquisition, the digital platform last month commissioned its first original docuseries, ordering the four-parter Russell Peters vs. the World, after announcing its intention to move into original unscripted programming in July.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.