For Variety's latest issue, we asked Netflix's Ted Sarandos to write a tribute to Aziz Ansari, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here's why Ansari, the star of "Master of None," represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.No comedian wants to be called the voice of his or her generation, but it is undeniable that Aziz Ansari is the voice of his. His...
Sarandos has a $6 billion content budget for 2017 (up from $5 billion for 2016), and he’s not being shy about spending it. He’s got 30 original scripted series in various stages of development or release, as well as 20 unscripted shows planned for 2017. The goal is to have 50% of the content on the service be original.
In 2011, Netflix debuted its streaming video on demand service. Sarandos began making deals to build its original content library, starting with the Norwegian co-production “Lillyhammer” and the David Fincher-produced political drama “House of Cards.” He later branched out into documentaries (2014’s Oscar-nominated “Virunga”) and features, including a three-picture deal with Adam Sandler that kicked off with 2015’s “The Ridiculous Six.”
Sarandos also bucked industry practice with his data-driven methodology for choosing projects, as well as the way he targets international markets by shooting series in a number of the 190 countries where Netflix is available (e.g., “Marseille” in France).
Sarandos is poised to be as disruptive a force in film as he is in TV, with an increasing slate of titles that include high-profile efforts from Brad Pitt (“War Machine”) and Will Smith (“Bright”).
Sarandos began his video career in high school, working as a clerk at the Arizona Video Cassettes West. A journalism major at Arizona State University, he dropped out to become a store manager for the chain, eventually running eight outlets (1983 to 1988). While serving as VP of product and merchandising at the 500-store Video City/West Coast Video chain, Sarandos met Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and he joined the company in 2000, the same year it launched its subscription service.