Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos has confirmed what we all suspected–lots of people are streaming movies and TV right now. In an interview with CNN’s Reliable Sources, Sarandos talked about all the ways the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the streaming giant, both good and bad.
While streams are up from those stuck at home, production of new content has been majorly disrupted. “Every one of our productions around the world are shut down,” Sarandos said. “I believe that’s unprecedented in history.” This includes some of Netflix’s biggest-name productions like The Witcher and Stranger Things.
Those watching at home don’t have to worry about a sudden lack of content, however. Netflix’s business model means most shows are produced far ahead of release, and shows that drop all at once won’t be affected by mid-season production halts–though new content drops may start to slow down if the situation stretches on through the year.
For some productions, work is still going ahead in unique new ways, such as a “virtual table read” for a new season of Big Mouth. “We had 40 actors and writers with Netflix executives doing a table read of a new episode. So, people are being quite adaptive on getting ready to–on getting geared up for a time when we do get back to work,” Sarandos said.
As well as contributing to a fund for entertainment industry workers affected by coronavirus, Netflix is also working with regulators in Europe to temporarily reduce streaming quality, helping straining networks cope better with the load. Overall, Netflix is proud of the role it’s playing in the unfolding coronavirus crisis.
“We’re proud to be part of that,” Sarandos said. “Which is trying to make that stay-home experience a little more bearable for folks, a little more enjoyable, even, and give some families something to gather around, something for people to talk about, making us feel a little less isolated while we are being physically isolated.”