We're just days away from the debut of the Netflix original series House of Cards — the first of many original productions debuting on the service this year — and it's becoming clear the company has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. In a lengthy profile on the company, GQ talks to Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who explains that he hopes for the company to generate a minimum of five original programs per year moving forward. Sarandos currently has $300 million in his budget for original programming, which has allowed Netflix to bring projects like Cards, Eli Roth's Hemlock Grove, and a new season of the cult classic Arrested Development to its customers.
Sarandos describes the company's pitch as being one that is particularly alluring to filmmakers and show creators. Netflix doesn't require TV pilots — a single, introductory episode intended as a proof-of-concept — for creatives to prove the viability of their wares, it commits to full seasons upfront, and it offers a real budget for show creators to play with (House of Cards itself had a $100 million budget). "The goal," says Sarandos, "is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."
"I really think we have the chance to radically change the depth of character connectivity."
The company is clearly looking at 2013 to be a breakout year in terms of original content, and it's already bested its five-program goal: including the second season of Lilyhammer, Netflix will be offering up six exclusive original series in the US. Sarandos seems to see it as the opening salvo in a movement that won't just change the way people think about Netflix, but could very well alter how audiences think of television itself. "I really think we have the chance to radically change the depth of character connectivity," he tells GQ. "I mean, a meaningful shift. It's going to further blur the line between television and movies." If you're curious about television, home entertainment, or digital distribution, be sure to check out the complete GQ profile — you won't want to miss it.