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Despite global ambition, Netflix gives TV an American accent

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In the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, The robbers, played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, find their beneficial activities confused by a relentless group that refuses to be shaken from their path. “They are starting to get nervous. Who are those guys?” Butch Complain..

The rise of Netflix and other US streaming platforms Disney plus When HBO Max It scares both movie studios and television stations around the world in much the same way. Instead of observing old-fashioned goodness and business practices, streamers confuse fun.

It’s starting to get nervous in Hollywood.Jim Zianops Expulsion This week, as head of Paramount Pictures by owner ViacomCBS, I want to publish more movies on the streaming service. Paramount Plus..Oscar-winning director Christopher Nolan Move Universal blamed WarnerMedia for supporting its platform HBO Max during the pandemic.

Streamers also spend a lot of money in other countries. This week’s Netflix signature Partnership agreement with Berlin-based writer and producer Anna Winger behind the series Deutschland 83 When Unorthodox.. Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, said: Said In Berlin.

The notion that the German series subtitled or dubbed in English (and other languages) attracts supporters around the world was unlikely until a while ago, but is no longer foreign. Lupin, A French drama starring Omar Sy on Netflix Most seen The first quarter series of this year.

Netflix is ​​at stake more than supplementing its core US viewers with foreign viewers in Hollywood style. Netflix now has 209 million subscribers, But total Slightly fell Due to the expansion of the new streaming platform, it was held in the United States and Canada in the second quarter of this year. The company will soon have the potential to acquire more customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa than at home.

In many ways, it’s the best time for TV viewers in the world.What is known as Peak TV The United States is flooded with new investment in high-quality dramas and documentaries, but it is still increasing in other countries.Disney is this year Expected to use $ 30 billion for media content such as movies and TV series, and $ 17 billion for Netflix.

It narrows the old gap in production value and sophistication between top US cable dramas such as: Sopranos When wire, And cheaper fares on European and Asian TV. The characters speak other languages ​​and have different settings, but many of the new global dramas have achieved the same level of quality.

But it puts pressure on something else — the experience of seeing something quite unique that would have been recalled in only one place.That was my feeling Lupin..It was very interesting and sophisticated, but despite its French Mise-en-scene, It felt a strange American.

The Greek tragedy remains a Greek tragedy, even if set in Spain, and despite the universal appeal of Shakespeare’s plays, it is impossible to speak English. Changing locations is easy, but the tradition of sentiment and narrative is deeply rooted. Hollywood movies have similar immutability, with the arcs and twists of American television stories.

Streaming economics promotes globalization. A series that attracts enthusiastic viewers in your own country will help you get subscribers in your own country and serve your purpose. But streamers are always looking for what Netflix Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters is looking for. call “Leverage against local investment” — a travel program.

“Some of them appear to have been cleverly generated by streaming algorithms to maximize the target audience globally.” remarks John Whittingdale made modifications this week before losing his job as British Government Broadcasting Minister. National broadcasters such as the BBC annual income Faced with an onslaught that raised £ 5 billion.

As a rule, this is not important. These broadcasters were able to continue producing what Whittingdale called “Clearly Britain” (or France, or Germany) while US streamers were producing alternative programs. Viewers can see and appreciate the variety — vive la différence, As Lupin The character may say.

But the money story, and Netflix and others, have fascinated some of the top creative talents.Phoebe Waller Bridge is more British than anyone on the screen, but writers and actors contract To Amazon Studios instead of the BBC. The danger is the outflow of talent that transforms the domestic market into a minor league.

The UK Government now wants to insert “clearly UK” content requirements into the responsibility of public broadcasters. Draft it and do your best, and to the judge who has to rule the question. Lupin I may not feel French completely, but it is doubtful if anyone can disprove that identity in court.

Legally and financially, it will be difficult to remove the streaming platform from the global path. Tradition does not always protect you, as Butch and Kid found at their own expense.

john.gapper@ft.com

Despite global ambition, Netflix gives TV an American accent

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