Former President Barack Obama and his wife, former first lady, Michelle Obama, are officially going into business with the streaming giant Neflix, the Hollywood Reporter announced today.
The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content for Netflix, under their Higher Ground Productions banner. This includes features, documentaries, scripted, and unscripted series.
Reports of a possible deal between the Obamas and Netflix had first surfaced in March this year, USA Today noted, and Barack Obama appeared in the premiere of David Letterman’s Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, in January this year.
Previous presidents have, after leaving the White House, made book deals, but no former president has entered a deal with an entertainment company.
Much like many previous American presidents and former first ladies of the United States, the Obamas have also made a deal with a book publisher, Penguin Random House, in their case. The deal is said to be worth $65 million and obliges both Barack and Michelle Obama to publish individual books.
Discussing the Netflix deal, former President Barack Obama said the following in a statement.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience. That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”
Former first lady Michelle Obama added her own statement, stressing that both she and Barack have always “believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.”
“Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership,” she added.
Netflix has also announced the newly-established collaboration with the Obamas via Twitter.
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix, potentially including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features.
— Netflix US (@netflix) May 21, 2018
According to Comparitech, the video service is set to release over 40 original titles in 2018, which will be the company’s biggest year for original content. In the last quarter of 2017, Netflix added 8 million new subscribers.
According to the same outlet, the video streaming giant has nearly 120 million subscribers at the moment. The streaming service pulled in 31 prime-time Emmy nominations for its original shows in total.
Michelle and Barack Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement with the video streaming service and this deal will, NBC News noted, give the couple a global platform in the Trump era, connecting the Obamas with an audience in nearly 200 countries.
Netflix has signed similarly lucrative deals with celebrities like Ryan Murphy and Adam Sandler, but the Obamas seem to be a step in a new direction. In a statement, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said that he was “incredibly proud” Barack and Michelle Obama had “chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”