The year 2023 has brought about numerous changes for streaming giant Netflix.
Founder Reed Hastings announced he was stepping down from his role as co-CEO, announcing that co-CEO Ted Sarandos and newly appointed co-CEO Greg Peters will take over in his absence.
Additionally, Bela Bajaria has been promoted to Netflix chief content officer, and Scott Stuber has been named chairman of Netflix Film.
With more competition than ever, Sarandos says they are determined to make Netflix bigger than ever.
“I think no one before Netflix has had this kind of reach,” he said, “We’re in nearly every country in the world, we’re producing original content in multiple languages, in multiple territories, we’re doing scripted and unscripted, film and television, animation, documentary, and at a quality and a real scale, which has never been done before.”
In Part 2 of a very special two-part episode of “LA Stories,” Sarandos and Fernandez dive deep into the rise of the streaming platform with host Giselle Fernandez.
For two decades, Sarandos helped the company grow from a DVD subscription service to a global streaming powerhouse — but it has not been without its challenges and controversies. With lower than expected earnings in 2022, Netflix announced their crackdown on password sharing in hopes of building revenue. The company also faced backlash when Dave Chappelle’s stand up comedy show, which streamed on Netflix, included what many called transphobic comments. Sarandos continues to defend the comedy special.
“Free speech and free expression really matters to me, and I think it makes for a better society,” he said. “Remember, the idea is to entertain. We’re not trying to pick a fight.”
Sarandos has confidence that the company will see success in the future. They continue to build the Netflix library, recently acquiring the Roald Dahl Story Company for $700 million, and revealing a plan to expand into the gaming industry. Sarandos says he’s most proud of the enduring quality of the company and believes the way they have weathered the storms is a testimony to the strength of the company.
He feels extremely blessed to have the opportunities he’s had over the years.
“I always say, ‘You should really do what you love because if you want to be good at it, the hours suck," he said. "[But] sometimes the payback is, your dreams come true.”
Watch "LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez" at 9 p.m. every Monday on Spectrum News 1.