Home Entertainment Netflix’s Ted Sarandos talks about the impact of Covid-19 on the streaming giant, its employees, and its subscribers

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos talks about the impact of Covid-19 on the streaming giant, its employees, and its subscribers

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I always like to look for a silver lining when things get tough, and one of the best things about Covid-19 pandemic is that when I’m asked what I’ll be doing over the weekend I can say I’m doing the socially conscious thing and self-isolating, instead of the usual “nothing” and then crying on the inside. I never said it was a broad silver lining.

Remember: keep your distance, wash your hands properly and frequently, don’t drive around for non-essentials, and give non-smokers who cough a dirty look and then follow step one.

Anyway, due to many businesses across the globe either restricting the amount of people physically at work by encouraging employees to work from home or even shutting down entirely (and hopefully temporarily), people find themselves in desperate need of entertainment. One of the main forms of said entertainment is TV, and one of the main purveyors of said TV is Netflix – so much so that the EU have asked Netflix and other streaming service to reduce the amount of bandwidth they consume as a preventative measure.

Nearly all movie and TV productions across the world have shut down in response to the pandemic, and Netflix is no exception in that regard. This has obviously caused a massive disruption to their production schedule, as Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos told CNN (via THR) yesterday:

“It’s been a massive disruption. Every one of our productions around the world are shut down. I believe that’s unprecedented in history. And we have a lot of folks who have found themselves suddenly and without notice to be out of work.”

They are however, unlike many businesses, providing some compensation to those affected by the shutdown:

“When we were forced to shut down those productions, the first thing we did is make sure that everybody on those sets, everybody on those crews knew that they were being paid for the next two weeks, as if they were there. We sent all of our employees at home. So, we have all of our employees at home, even in roles that are not necessarily conducive to doing that. So, we’re trying to keep things ‘business as usual’ as we can, in a time of great uncertainty for some people. We hope this brings them some economic comfort, if not emotional comfort.”

However it’s not something that subscribers will notice in the short term:

“We work pretty far ahead. You know, we deliver all of our shows with all episodes at once. So, we’re pretty far ahead. So we don’t see any disruption in our output over the next few months. You know, maybe later in the year, if this progresses long, you’ll start feeling some of that as the physical production is not operating.”

In other good news, and in addition to the aforementioned two weeks compensation, Sarandos also announced on Friday that Netflix are setting up a $100 million relief fund for those in the industry affected by the shutdown, stating in a post on the company blog (which you can read in full here):

The Covid-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally – leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters, drivers, hair and makeup artists and more, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.

This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.

Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.

Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.

Let’s hope more of the giant entertainment corporations, who rely so heavily on all those people he was just talking about, follow suit.

Last Updated: March 23, 2020

26 Comments

  1. RinceThis

    March 23, 2020 at 15:02

    “and then crying on the inside.” What nonsense. You need feelings to cry.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 23, 2020 at 15:02

      It’s called poetic license.

      Reply

      • Weanerdog

        March 23, 2020 at 15:15

        That Rince fellow is so mean. You are welcome to come play WWZ with me seeing as it’s now cross play.

        Reply

        • Son of Banana Jim

          March 23, 2020 at 15:42

          Don’t, all they do in WWZ is shoot each other, especially the Weanerdog chap, who then quotes Marxist theories as the reasoning behind his teamkills.

          Reply

          • Weanerdog

            March 23, 2020 at 15:42

            Please, Marx was a hack. Also I am merely sharing my ammo with my teammates. It’s just good manners, not communism.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 23, 2020 at 15:55

            These kids today just want fresh, unused ammo. They’re too good for your hand-me-downs.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 15:55

            In these trying times, one must hold onto one’s ammo… and toilet paper.

          • Weanerdog

            March 23, 2020 at 15:56

            Damn Zoomers. Back on my day you had to share a rifle and were only allowed 1 sheet of toilet paper a day.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:35

            Don’t lie, back in your day, you used to share a rifle, a clip and everyone was allowed only one rock for their bathroom needs. Press F for all the poor tortoises who were mistaken for rocks. 🙁

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:35

            It’s business as usual in my neighbourhood. Shops are full, no panic buying, just a normal monday morning. I guess everyone had their Covid-Weekend of isolation and decided “Nah, we’d rather not do that any more”

            🙁 Sigh, we’re definitely going to see those numbers spike now.

          • Weanerdog

            March 23, 2020 at 16:35

            With at least an 8 day lag from infection to reporting. Life’s going to get “fun”

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:35

            Yeah, it’s going to get real. :/

          • Dresden

            March 23, 2020 at 16:42

            After the speech tonight, I fear things are going to take a turn for the worse.

            It’s still better that we nip it in the bud now, rather than later. Italy and Spain are prime examples of how bad things can get.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:42

            It depends on what he’s going to say though. I think everyone is expecting a total lockdown, curfews etc. but I wonder what that will mean for people living on the bottom rung of South Africa. They’re already poverty-stricken. Any sort of lockdown will have to come with some sort of relief? Food stuffs etc.

            It’s a complete mess when you think about how it has to be dealt with in South Africa. How do you do social distancing in a township or in an informal settlement? Every day you’re travelling in a taxi (probably one of the best ways to get infected). And then what about the comorbidity of HIV/TB and Covid?

            It’s a real conundrum if you ask me.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:49

            And then there’s the issue of medical supplies. Where do we get most of our medical supplies from? I know Sweden and Norway are dependent on India and China, and they’re currently running out of supplies.

            If you lock-down the informal settlements and restrict movement, you have to setup some sort of way to treat people. Do you take supplies from hospitals? Do you rope in the private hospitals?

            I honestly don’t envy Cyril in this… lol if it was Jacob Zuma, he’d probably just tell us all to take a shower or something just as ridiculous.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 15:55

            How dare you, Marx and his buddy Engels were proper bros. But yes, sharing your ammo with teammates, by peppering them in the back is an amazing way to embrace the concept of ubuntu. Sharing is caring!

          • Weanerdog

            March 23, 2020 at 16:02

            It’s ideological Fantasy, the concerns are valid but the solutions are dependant on a degree of social responsibility that cannot work over anything but a very small scale.

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:42

            Over 50 people and it all comes crashing down….

          • Dresden

            March 23, 2020 at 16:22

            Go Google – “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

            See what persons face pops up!?

          • Son of Banana Jim

            March 23, 2020 at 16:35

            LOL!!! Ok that’s wrong! hahahaha!

      • RinceThis

        March 23, 2020 at 15:42

  2. RinceThis

    March 23, 2020 at 15:02

    Well Jeff Besos is doing his bit for Amazon. By saying that staff who can’t work don’t get paid. Gem of a chap.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 23, 2020 at 15:15

      There’s always more where those came from. Think of the shareholders.

      Reply

    • Son of Banana Jim

      March 23, 2020 at 15:42

      lol, dude makes a whopping $9 000 000 an hour, and then tells his staff they should suck it up. Classy!

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        March 23, 2020 at 15:42

        Yeah really not cool.

        Reply

        • Son of Banana Jim

          March 23, 2020 at 16:42

          I guess, filling your boat up with coke, hookers and caviar while spending isolation on the open seas is expensive….

          Reply

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