The word of the leaders of Netflix is rather rare. All the more so when we approach the themes of creativity and diversity. In a tweet, billionaire Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, claimed that “the woke virus makes Netflix unwatchable”. Some of the films and series become almost caricatural, with four protagonists from such and such a community or ethnicity, such and such a sexual orientation, so that each viewer can identify with them. But how do you stay creative with a specification as heavy as a Marvel superhero movie? “For some we’re too woke, for others we’re not enough. You can’t please everyone. We leave both artistic freedom to creators and choice to our subscribers. It’s important to remember that the content is not imposed on you. You are free to watch or not, ”answers Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce, director of communication for Netflix France, alongside Damien Bernet, director of development, during a meeting with the Association of Media Journalists.
For Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce, “the subject of inclusion and diversity is extremely complex”. “Either we are accused of doing too much or not enough. When we claim to want to entertain 222 million people in 190 countries around the world, we try to ensure that there is diverse content that can appeal to as many people. We try to have two principles: artistic freedom and giving control to our members [subscribers, editor’s note]. It is essential to have as much content and stories that reflect the diversity of our members. The management of Netflix France is convinced that “the world of audiovisual and the cinema industry is not diverse enough. There is a glass ceiling for accessing talent from all universes.” “Our members want to see stories that are like them in diversity. Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce mentions in particular the fact that there are still few female assistant directors and the support for certain associations such as 1,000 Faces or CinéFabrique, in Lyon.
The recent stoppage of the Funny series, created by Fanny Herrero, screenwriter of Ten percent, has been commented on a lot, especially on social networks. Rather appreciated by critics precisely for its creativity – it is interested in the young stand-up scene – it has not been viewed enough on the platform to justify the production of a new season. She was stopped short, much to the chagrin of Fanny Herrero, who said she was “sad and disappointed that Netflix didn’t let the show settle in further.”
“We don’t operate differently than private channels. Netflix needs to have investments and revenue that is not advertising revenue but subscription revenue. If we don’t have enough feedback, it’s complicated for us to go far. On the series Les Combattantes with TF1 [co-produced with Netflix and broadcast on the channel at the start of the school year, editor’s note], our investment is less important than on Funny, of which we financed all, ”says Damien Bernet.
So what secret criterion is the platform based on? The hearing. That is to say, for the Reed Hastings firm, several days spent in the top 10 of the most viewed content in the country of production. “We look at whether French content has been successful above all in relation to French territory. All the content we develop must first work in France. Their international influence is the icing on the cake. If, in the two months following its release, a content does not find its audience, it will not find it. We leave room for author projects that are seen, ”says communications director Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce. Thus, Funny, although it remained a few days in the top 10 in France, would have quickly fallen back into the meanders of the Netflix catalog.