Netflix planning to increase its European content

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The video streaming service Netflix is planning to increase the number of original European productions it releases over the next two years, according to one of its senior executives.

The US company is planning to make over 120 original productions in Europe this year, and “something in the 200 range” next year, its general council David Hyman told the Politico podcast EU Confidential.

“We are starting to invest heavily in European works across the continent,” Hyman told Politico. “We’ve got projects going in France, Italy, Germany, Poland and the UK.” This is “across all genres”, he said.

EU lawmakers recently decided that at least 30 per cent of the content offered in Europe by video platforms including Netflix will have to be European. But Hyman said this is not why Netflix is investing in European content.

“We haven’t set out to beat targets, we’ve really set out to try to find great storytellers, and there are just so many of them,” he said.

Asked about the differences in the films and programmes that are available in different countries, Hyman said that these are reducing as the company makes more of its own productions, which it has more control over.

Interviewer Ryan Heath suggested that Netflix is “helping to create a different kind of European identity” because it is “connecting cultures” and giving people the chance to access content produced in other languages.

Hyman agreed, describing the streaming service as “really the first pan-European television network”. Netflix offers subtitles in 26 languages, and dubbing into eight languages in Europe, he said.

“That’s the beauty of the internet, is you can subtitle [content] in whatever language you want and dub it in whatever language you want.”

Some countries prefer to watch foreign-language content in specific forms, Hyman said. For example, people in Poland typically like lectoring, in which the translation is spoken at a different time to the original speech, which can still be heard at a low volume.

European productions are increasingly becoming popular outside the continent, according to Hyman, who cited the Spanish series La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) as getting “great pickup”. He said: “We see an interesting opportunity to bring the great stories from Europe back to the US.”

Words: Craig Nicholson

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