Netflix content chief says original unscripted translates better to SVOD than licensed

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Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that Netflix has had “incredible success” so far with some of its unscripted shows including “Nailed It,” which he said is as popular in Mexico as it is in the United States. (Netflix)

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explained that Netflix’s expanding foray into original unscripted shows is partly because they just work better on the service.

Speaking today at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, Sarandos explained that after taking out the commercial breaks, unscripted shows from programmers like Discovery Inc. can play a little awkwardly on the platform.

“After the commercial break, they recap everything you just watched. When you put them on Netflix and strip the commercials out, it’s ridiculous. It’s like seven minutes of a show. On Netflix, when we produce a 30-minute unscripted show it’s 30 minutes of programming with no catching up because we figure you’ll remember what you just saw,” Sarandos said.

He said that Netflix has had “incredible success” so far with some of its unscripted shows including “Nailed It,” which he said is as popular in Mexico as it is in the United States. He also said Netflix’s reboot of makeover show “Queer Eye” has proven popular with users.

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Sarandos said that when Netflix owns the unscripted brands, it can decide whether to do local-language formats or tweak the shows to have them play better in international markets.

He also looked to dispel the theory that unscripted content is not as valuable as scripted because it’s slightly more passive viewing.

“All of that is based on second-window, commercials-out programming on Netflix versus the stuff that we’re doing now,” Sarandos said. “What I try to do with my team is raise the efficiency bar on [unscripted shows.]”

Sarandos that that even though unscripted shows get a lot of views, people don’t necessarily join Netflix to get access to those shows, or stick with the service to keep watching them.

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