Netflix Global Empire Bringing Diversity To The Screen

Netflix Global Empire Bringing Diversity To The Screen

Netflix has now expanded to nearly the entire globe, still trying to etch its way into China. But the Netflix global empire in the streaming market will do more than just create a monopoly for the streaming media giant. It plans to bring more diversity to its programming and make certain shows a universal experience for all cultures to indulge in.

There has long been the thought that diversity in Hollywood was a real problem, and even when they do portray other cultures, they do so with a slant of humiliation that misrepresents many in that culture. But Netflix is looking to take that taboo out of Hollywood and bring more diversity to its programming.

When speaking at an event in Seoul, South Korea, Chief Content Officer for Netflix Ted Sarandos said that they are not only trying to break into all of these markets, but they are also looking to bring the kind of diversity that the people demand, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“We’re very proud that Netflix shows are among the most diverse in the world,” Sarandos said at the event. “Just looking at Marco Polo and Masters of None, they have an enormous Asian cast.”

What Hollywood is most known for is keeping the diversity out of the industry, at least in recent years. Just last year, organizers and officers for the Academy Awards, or the Oscars, were criticized for a serious lack of diversity in their nominations and subsequent awarding, which resulted in an #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter. Netflix is looking to change that stereotype for the industry.

In recent months, Netflix has broken into so many new territories that it is hard to go anywhere that their service is not offered. As of this time, Netflix currently allows buffer-style video streaming in 190 countries. The only major market that they lack any real presence in is China, which is the most populous country in the world.

The fact that Hollywood has been accused of “whitewashing” roles that involved Asians does not help their case any, so this public relations move in Seoul could have something to do with Netflix’s desire to break into the country. But that is not an easy task for any company, given that it takes certain relationships to establish a presence in the Chinese market.

“We do look at China as a big opportunity, but it’s a complicated [market], as you know,” Sarandos said at the Seoul event. “We are seeing what we can do about it in the future. We are very aware that China is an important part of the revenue for ‘K-drama’ (Korean television drama), and that many K-drama companies produce content with China in mind.”

But in order for Netflix to make gains in any of its territories, it needs to look at local culture and provide more entertainment that is directed at the local people who live there. But that does not mean that Netflix subscribers across the world do not like the dramas and comedies that Netflix produces for its American audience because many of those overseas territories really love them.

“When the world thinks of great contemporary film directors, they think of Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino,” Sarandos said at the South Korea event. “After Okja, they will start to think of Bong Joon-ho (director) in that same list.”

Although the progress for diversity is slow at this point for Netflix, they do have several shows out that would appeal to an Asian audience. One that is about to make its debut on Netflix, Drama World, is about a young girl who is obsessed with K-drama programs. So much so that she is magically teleported into one of their episodes and the series plays out like that.

[Photo by Joe Seer/Shutterstock Images]