Netflix Exec Talks Viewer Habits, Development Plans and More

Netflix’s head of original content, Cindy Holland, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about emerging trends in entertainment media and some of her company’s ambitions. Topics included Netflix viewer habits, development and pilot plans, working with content creators, and the straight-to-series strategy. Holland, a 12-year veteran of Netflix, oversees a growing portion of the company’s $3 billion programming budget. Most recently, she has been tasked with developing original series.

House_Of_CardsHighlights of the THR interview include the following quotes from Holland:

  • Creating great series that our subscribers love is job No. 1; the two guiding metrics for us are subscriber reach and how many total hours are viewed. But we’re very happy when series get reviewed well and become cultural phenomenons the way “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” have.
  • We view our job as helping support the creators to fulfill their vision, not ours. We view ourselves as the objective outsider… It’s about being supportive and helping to point out things that from the outset the storytellers have expressed a desire to do.
  • Our straight-to-series strategy was born out of a few things: one being necessity because I was a dep­artment of one when we licensed “House of Cards”; two, out of wanting to show our commitment to being serious about this business; and three, when we had the opportunity as outsiders coming into a new business to take a look at what the best practices are at different networks, we were able to try on what works for us and what doesn’t.
  • Our desire to own is less about maximizing profit for the total enterprise because our business model is about subscriptions, not profits from TV shows; our desire to own really will come more from our desire to control an increasing number of international territories and windows within territories.
  • I don’t think any genres are off-limits to us. We have a large subscriber base that consumes a wide variety of content and we don’t have any preconceived notions about what will or won’t work on the service. We’ve been very focused on highly serialized hours and half-hours, and that will continue to be true, but I wouldn’t close the door on any kind of experimentation.
  • I think on-demand will always be the key focus for us, so anything that requires aggregating a live audience at one point in time is better suited for network television and linear television. But anything that can be viewed and enjoyed in an on-demand way could ultimately be something we think about.