Sarandos says Netflix will sustain up to 20 original scripted shows a year

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) plans to sustain up to 20 original scripted series a year, according to the SVOD service's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos.

Sarandos was interviewed on stage by producer Arrested Development producer Mitch Hurwitz Wednesday at a NATPE panel in Miami--an event covered by myriad TV trades.

"I think we can launch--successfully, high quality--around 20 original scripted shows a year, which means every 2 1/2 to three weeks you're launching a new season or a new show on Netflix meant to be for really diverse tastes all around the world," he said.

Sarandos also addressed Netflix's $90 million production Marco Polo, which unlike previous Netflix originals has drawn poor critical reviews. While the reviews haven't been great, Sarandos insisted that the audience metrics--which Netflix won't disclose--have been on par.

"The launch and completion rates were comparable with Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards, and more than that it's happening around the world at the same time," Sarandos said. "The season two pickup was based on that performance."

Meanwhile, extrapolating on the topic of Netflix's premiere of Sony Pictures' The Interview on Friday, Sarandos addressed the issue of theatrical distribution. As you might guess, he's not a big fan of traditional theatrical release windows. 

"There are films like Interstellar where you cannot replicate the experience of seeing it in IMAX. It's an amazing film presented in a spectacular way," he said. "It really is an experience, like going to Disneyland, and you can't replicate that by watching home videos of going to Disneyland. But there are plenty of movies where viewing at home experience is exactly the same.

"What's happening right now is TV has never been better, but a big driver of why television is displacing movies in the culture is because the distribution for television has never been better either," Sarandos added. "People want to see Breaking Bad, they're not going to miss it like they used to … whereas if you want to see a movie and don't live anywhere near a theater, you have to wait at least a year to see it on Netflix. You have to wait at least four to six months to watch it on pay per view or buy it on DVD. It's super-disconnected from what people want. Theater owners are exerting a lot of power over the studios to withhold access to content that people want to see. That's bad for consumers, that's bad for studios, and ultimately I think it will be bad for theaters."

Fore more:
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

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