Netflix is set to grow its existing co-production partnership with U.K. public service broadcasters (PSBs), a senior executive has revealed.
Speaking on the second and final day of the Royal Television Society convention at Cambridge, Brandon Riegg, Los Angeles-based vice president, unscripted and documentary Series at Netflix, said that since 2017, the streamer had invested in more than 40 co-productions in the U.K., worth tens of millions of pounds. “If anything, it’ll grow as we go forward,” Riegg said.
“A big benefit of a coproduction model is we have partnerships with PSBs that have great creative instincts, we defer to them creatively,” said Riegg. “It’s a wonderful model, because we get terrific programming. And we are able to spread the work around and that allows PSBs to partner with us on it. So that’s been a great initiative, I would expect us to steadily increase the volume of that.”
Speaking alongside Riegg were Ralph Lee, chief executive, production, BBC Studios, Sanjay Singhal, chief executive, Voltage TV and Jane Turton, CEO, All3Media, all of whom have worked with Netflix. The picture that emerged about the U.K. production sector is that there is currently a boom, but with a shortage of seasoned personnel. The U.K. entities on the panel agreed that production costs had inflated by approximately 10% without a corresponding increase in buying communities’ tariffs, leading to a profit margin squeeze.
“We’re also at a time when the demand is greater than ever, and people coming to town to commission British producers is really good news,” said Turton.
The panelists also agreed that while British producers lost out on secondary and tertiary income accruing from retaining intellectual property rights, they gained from the higher tariffs paid out by streamers like Netflix, who typically keep all IP. Even without retaining rights, the British producers were in favor of keeping a production portfolio ticking over. Variety