Netflix’s Larry Tanz talks competitors & rights, unveils Euro drama duo

Lupin (Source: Netflix)

Netflix is maintaining its bullish approach to streaming despite competitors finding it “really hard and expensive”, with EMEA content chief Larry Tanz revealing two new dramas from the region which will join 40 shows in production for the streamer this month alone.

Tanz told a packed Series Mania Forum audience that Netflix remains “all in” on streaming, highlighting that the company is sticking to its strategy while highlighting that others – which remained unnamed – had exited some parts of the region.

Larry Tanz (Source: Series Mania)

“Competitors are realising that streaming can be a great business but that it is also really hard and expensive – that has caused some competitors to dial back or exit countries entirely. We are all in.

“We are continuing to invest and to grow our investments, I’m proud that we have done what we have said we would do in terms of plans and we will continue to do that.”

Tanz said that Netflix is working with more than 400 producers across EMEA and has 40 shows shooting in March alone, but said country-specific quotas could affect spending.

Streaming quotas have become increasing prevalent across Europe, with France one such country to have introduced minimum requirements for OTT operators.

But Tanz said “flexibility” was needed, adding that “constricting” quotas could “stifle creativity”.

“The more flexibility there is, the more we can do,” he continued, pointing to Spain as “a good example” of that, while also attempting to dismiss “myths” around the rights that the streamer needs.

He pointed to the fact that Netflix claims to only own 25% of its content in EMEA, adding that concerns around losing rights is largely a legacy issue. “Rights are important to producers and so they have to be important to us,” he said.

“When we started local commissioning here [in Europe], it was very early days and we were funding local content for streaming, which some people thought was crazy.

“And in the beginning we did have that Hollywood model of ownership, but that has changed a lot in the last five or six years. We only own the IP on 25% of our European projects – so it is really a range of deal structures that we do, we call them flexible.”

Unscripted expansion

Tanz said acquisitions remained a key focus, allowing the streamer to broaden out its offering, while he also talked up its efforts across the genre spectrum.

“Two or three years ago we were doing almost no non-fiction – now it’s all over the region, we’ve just launched Love Is Blind Sweden and then at the other end of the cultural spectrum we have an Arabic-language version of Love Is Blind, which is for a wildly different culture and type of show.”

Love Is Blind

Tanz said that the streamer has also been looking to “really grow our offering around sports” in EMEA, with its Tour de France docuseries returning this year and a show focused on Spanish football, LaLiga24.

“We’ve really started to earn the trust of producers and talent, and that’s wonderful,” he said, but added that developing new talent remains a major issue for the streamer and broader industry.

Tanz admitted there is a “real need for the industry to figure out how to bring people into the industry and give them that springboard to give them a career,” adding that his company has programmes and on-the-job training to improve the situation.

He added: “We want to meet the audience where they are. If our audience love French action we have shows like Lost Bullett and we have to do the best version of French action, then our members get excited about that.

“We want to take risks and do new things, understanding that some of those things won’t work. It is also fun to cut against the stereotypes,” he added, highlighting that the “biggest” series in Sweden is not a Nordic Noir drama but Love Is Blind Sweden and Young Royals, which “have cut against the steretype”.

Tanz added that setting a German show in the UK – “mix and match”, as he put it – has not worked for the streamer, with the aim instead to be “locally focused”.

Netflix’s new French & Netherlands dramas

Tanz also confirmed that the streamer has 40 shows in production in March and talked up its “strongest ever” slate in  France in 2023, where the streamer has recently hired Pauline Dauvin to work across its output.

The slate, ranging from En Place and Lupin S3 to Nouvelle Ecole, is to be bolstered by a newly announced untitled thriller, which follows a young mother on the run who finds an unexpected opportunity to bounce back by becoming a picker in a prestigious flower farm in Provence.

But the mysterious death of the family patriarch of the company casts her under the spotlight as the prime suspect.

It has been created by Nils Antoine Sambuc, with Marie Jardillier directing and Itinéraire Productions/UGC attache dot produce. Isabelle Adjani stars.

Also on the slate is Amsterdam Empire from The Netherlands-based Pupkin Film, with A Team Productions attached to coproduce.

The show stars Famke Janssen and follows a rich and notorious founder of a coffee shop empire who, after having an affair, finds himself in a ruthless battle with his betrayed wife. Nico Moolenaar, Bart Uytdenhouwen & Piet Matthys are creators.

Netflix has been on a marketing push over recent weeks, launching a 12-strong slate in the Nordics earlier this week, as well as new shows in Germany such as Exterritorial and a 20-strong slate in Spain.

Over the past decade, Tanz said that the “biggest evolution” had been local series and films “being pitched and developed locally. When i started, everything was out of LA.”

“At the core our focus is on the best stories, films and series and what’s going to resonate with our audiences on the local level. We’re 10 years in on the UK and Nordics, we’re around that in France, we’re there in Poland where it’s slightly earlier.”

“We’re starting to hit our stride,” he continued, adding that German series Liebeskind (Dear Child) had been in the streamer’s top 10 in more than 92 countries. “That’s pretty unheard of for a German series.”

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