Netflix’s algorithms can ironically give producers pitching ideas a false sense of the breadth of shows the streamer wants, a senior UK commissioning exec has admitted.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Netflix vice-president, series, UK, Anne Mensah urged producers to look beyond their own viewing habits.
She urged them to stop trying to “second-guess” what Netflix wants.
“Put more energy into ideas that you are passionate about,” she said.
“The algorithm decides what you’re watching and serves up shows that it thinks you will like. Producers will come in [thinking] that we want a lot of dark thrillers, because that is what they watch. They forget that they haven’t seen everything on Netflix.”
Mensah said the TV industry is a “monoculture” of people that often ignores the diversity of what’s on offer.
“They all watch the same things, talk about the same things and then think that’s what we want to make,” she said.
“One of our biggest shows is [US drama series] Virgin River - but half the people I have spoken to haven’t seen it.”
Unveiling a slate that includes a Robbie Williams documentary and a survival format from All3Media labels Studio Lambert and Raw, the Netflix team said the streamer lacked a singing or musical format.
Netflix has entertainment with British DNA firmly in its sights, with Studio Lambert and The Garden co-producing Squid Game: The Challenge and veteran entertainment exec Sam Crack joining the UK commissioning team.
Crack, who has worked on shows such as Love Island, The Masked Singer, I’m a Celebrity and talent formats The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, will work with directors of unscripted series, Daisy Lilley and Ben Kelly.
Netflix UK commissions:
Robbie Williams doc series
RSA Unscripted, length tbc
Director: Joe Pearlman
Executive producers: Asif Kapadia, Dominic Crossley-Holland
Tyson Fury doc series
Optomen, length tbc
Series producer: Demi Doyle
Series editor: Clare Little
Executive producer: Laura Leigh
All American Nightmare
Raw TV, 3 x tbc
Directors: Felicity Morris, Bernadette Higgins
Edge of Paradise [working title]
Studio Lambert/Raw TV, length tbc
Executive producers: Ross Goodlass, Pete Campion, Oliver Calleja (Raw); Nia Yemoh, Stephen Yemoh, Tim Harcourt (Studio Lambert)