Ted Sarandos – the man who decides what 81 million Netflix subscribers get to watch – is often pestered about an Aussie detective.
‘‘ I have friends constantly asking me about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; when the next season is coming,’’ says Sarandos, chief content officer of the streaming giant. (Netflix has exclusive rights the ABC series in many countries).
By the end of this year, Netflix will have spent $6 billion on original programming : House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Making a Murderer and much more. This makes Sarandos – who began scrutinising customer habits as a teenage video store clerk – one of the world’s most powerful programmers . And he would love to commission original Australian content for his global audience.
‘‘ Absolutely,’’ he says, when asked if local TV and filmmakers would find a welcoming ear for their pitches.
Rival streaming service Stan* has already spent big on Australian programming . Its acclaimed Wolf Creek series broke viewing records and drove a ‘‘ huge lift’ ’ in subscriptions, says content chief Nick Forward. A new season of comedy No Activity will debut later this year, and Stan will shoot its first feature film , The Second.
Presto achieved its best one-day results with an exclusive Home and Away special, and has commissioned two more. It’s Australian short series Let’s Talk About is also popular.
In a report supplied exclusively to Fairfax Media, leading research company Roy Morgan estimates that Netflix is in 1.88 million Australian homes – reaching 5 million Australians aged 14 or older. Stan reaches 900,000 potential viewers across 332,000 subscribing homes, while Presto’s potential viewership exceeds 350,000 people across 142,000 households.
A Stan spokeswoman claims the service has more than 1.3 million active users in 500,000 homes.
Of the 50 highest-rating broadcasts on Australian television last year, all were local. Stan and Presto say they’re hungry for more Australian content, and have several fresh projects in development . But Sarandos insists there is still enormous demand for international drama – when viewers get it the way they want.
Netflix demands every show draw viewers outside its home country.
A good example is Foxtel’s acclaimed prison series Wentworth. Americans do not consider it an ‘‘ Aussie’ ’ program, Sarandos explains, just a great drama: ‘‘ It’s a huge show, a big success for us everywhere.’’
Stan is a joint venture of the Nine Entertainment Company and Fairfax Media, owner of this masthead.
This article is from the June 11 2016 issue of The Age Digital Edition.