Netflix Punches Back at Disney, Signs Shonda Rhimes

Joe Flint:

Signing up a superstar “showrunner” like Ms. Rhimes—whose work for ABC has generated over $2 billion in revenue from advertising, rerun sales and international licensing, according to people familiar with the matter—underscores that Netflix intends to poach the best talent from traditional studios, whether in front of or behind the camera.

The $2 billion number is insane.

“We have continued to move up the food chain in terms of getting into the creation of content earlier,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview.

I feel like a lot of companies might try to hide what they were doing so as not to (continue to) piss off their content partners. Not Netflix.

“I’m thrilled by the idea of a world where I’m not caught in the necessary grind of network television,” Ms. Rhimes said. In addition, since Netflix doesn’t have advertising, Ms. Rhimes doesn’t need to worry about language and nudity. Netflix, she said, provides “larger creative freedom.”

Let’s be clear: it’s the money first and foremost. But if the money is at least equal to what traditional Hollywood is paying, there are a lot of benefits that come with the new model when it comes to creativity. 

See also: David Letterman making the jump.


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