Netflix talks up ‘local plus variety’ response to subscriber challenge

Netflix is doubling down on its domestic-first commissioning focus as it attempts to stem subscriber decline around the world, with its head of EMEA, Larry Tanz, and Italian chief, Tinny Andreatta, talking up the “local plus variety” strategy.

The streamer has been out in force at markets over recent months, including the Edinburgh TV Festival in the in August, as it seeks to strengthen ties with local producers and reiterate its demand for shows that focus squarely on the country in which they are commissioned.

Tanz told delegates at MIA Market in Rome that the streamer wanted to “be close to creators and to speak to them literally in their language”, adding that country-specific shows across both scripted and unscripted were in demand.

“Local plus variety is really what we’re going for here,” he said, adding that unscripted was a “growing and exciting” area of demand.

Netflix used MIA to push its latest docuseries, Vatican Girl: The Disappearance Of Emanuela Orlandi, although the show – exploring the mysterious case of a 15 year-old girl living in Rome’s Vatican City – is being produced by All3Media’s UK-based outfit Raw.

The show has been written and directed by Mark Lewis (Don’t F**k With Cats), with Chiara Messineo producer, and Tom Barry and Dimitri Doganis exec producers for Raw.

Italian expansion

Tinny Andreatta, VP of content for Italy, also took to the stage to underline that she wanted shows that would appeal primarily to local audiences and avoid “stereotypes”.

“It is very important that our stories are made for Italian audiences – then they can be taken out across the rest of the world. But first, we have to be successful in Italy and connected to our local audience.”

Andreatta, the former Rai exec who joined Netflix in 2020, pointed to mental health scripted series Everything Calls For Salvation as an example of the types of shows required. “We want programmes that are highly entertaining but also that break the rules and challenge people.”

“Anti-hero narratives” are also required, Andreatta added, while unscripted is also a burgeoning area of demand. The Netflix exec said she wanted more reality, pointing to Summer Job as an example of an original unscripted format created in Italy.

Netflix has been ramping up its investment in Italy recently, unveiling a slate of Italian productions across scripted, unscripted and film this summer and opening a dedicated office in Rome.

Italian shows in the works for Netflix include a series inspired by the novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), which is being produced by Indiana Production and Moonage Pictures, and Inganno (working title), from ITV Studios label Cattleya.

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