As the world outside North America hesitantly moves back into film and TV production out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix’s newly minted co-CEO believes the entertainment industry will never be the same – but things are “ramping up”
“I think the safety protocols will become a permanent part of production, which is a good thing,” Ted Sarandos said today on the Q2 earnings videoconference. “It been remarkable how nimble the teams have been …The nimble nature of our creatives,” the once and still Chief Content Officer of the streamer added of both projects that are restarting internationally and those still on pause Stateside.
We’re “ramping up in different various stages of pre-production” around the globe, the almost always pitching Sarandos asserted.
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“Even during the shutdown we are partially shot on a lot of shows, so when we can pick up them back up it’s not like starting from scratch again,” Sarandos noted of what the next few weeks may or may not hold depending on if rising coronavirus cases begin to level out in the United States.
Sending up a flare but not naming any names, the exec let slip that one of the streamer’s projects will have a “couple of shooting days in Los Angles this week that we’re really excited about, so that’s coming around.”
Production in the City of Angels came to a standstill in mid-March as the initial wave of the coronavirus began to quickly spread, with stay-at-home orders keeping everyone indoors – many watching Netflix. Despite volumes of white papers, state and county guidelines, labor talks and a lot of prayers and cross fingers, production has not geared up yet and socially distanced set-up studio lots essentially remain empty.
Coming off rising subscriber numbers and revenues released today, as well as a stock drop, Netflix’s data heavy post-earnings report shindig today included co-CEO Reed Hastings, CFO Spence Neumann, COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters and VP of IR/Corporate Development Spencer Wang, along with Sarandos.
On paper and “outside of North America, India and parts of Brazil,” the now internationally facing streamer was “running pretty much in normal fashion in terms of our volume” as Sarandos said on the videoconference too.
“Today, we’re slowly resuming productions in many parts of the world. We are furthest along in Asia
Pacific (where we never fully shut down in Korea, for example) and are now shooting live action series
like season 2 of our Japanese original The Naked Director,” the letter to shareholders that Netflix sent out after the market closed Thursday. “In EMEA, we are now back in production in many countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Italy, and the UK,” the streamer added, somewhat optimistically.
The statements comes as coronavirus cases are surging in the US, with production rich California leaning towards another lockdown of sorts. This is just as studios, unions, networks, streamers and others hoped series and films anticipated July would see series and films getting back to work.
“While we recently resumed production on two films in California and two stop-motion animation projects in Oregon and expect some more of our US productions to get going this quarter, current infection trends create more uncertainty for our productions in the US,” today’s earnings unveiling stated. “Parts of the world like India and some of Latin America are also more challenging and we are hoping to restart later in the year in these regions.”
So, on this side of the Pacific and the Atlantic, even as production rich Vancouver aims to reopen soon-ish, it’s still mostly hurry up and wait – even on streaming.