ted sarandos smartless

Ted Sarandos

Ted Sarandos is an influential figure in the entertainment industry, serving as the Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer of Netflix, one of the world's leading entertainment services. With a career spanning over two decades at Netflix, he has been pivotal in transforming the company from a DVD rental service to a global streaming giant. Sarandos is renowned for his visionary approach to content acquisition and production, significantly changing how TV shows and movies are produced and distributed. Under his leadership, Netflix has invested billions in original content, leading to groundbreaking series and films that have received critical acclaim and attracted millions of subscribers worldwide. His strategies have not only propelled Netflix's growth but have also influenced the entire entertainment landscape, prompting shifts towards on-demand, streaming content. Sarandos's impact on the industry is marked by innovation, disruption, and a relentless pursuit of quality storytelling.

Unpacking the Creative Genius of Ted Sarandos on the Smartless Podcast

In the realm of digital streaming and innovative content, few names are as synonymous with success as Ted Sarandos, the Chief Content Officer of Netflix. The recent episode of the “Smartless” podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, offers an intimate dive into the mind of Sarandos. The episode not only explores his journey and philosophies but also provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of entertainment. This article presents a comprehensive look into the first third of the conversation, highlighting the key moments and revelations.

The Genesis of Netflix’s Original Content

The podcast opens with lighthearted banter among the hosts, setting the stage for a conversation that is as informative as it is engaging. The discourse swiftly moves to the turning point in Netflix’s history – the pivot to original content. Sarandos shares an anecdote about the first pitch for what would become a landmark series, “House of Cards.” This moment was not just a pivot for Netflix but a seismic shift in the entire entertainment industry, marking the dawn of high-quality streaming original content.

The Philosophy of Content Creation

Sarandos speaks passionately about the creative philosophy at Netflix, emphasizing the importance of giving creatives the freedom and autonomy to realize their visions. He shares insights into the decision-making process, highlighting how it’s not just about the numbers but the cultural impact and the love of storytelling that drive the platform’s content choices. This approach has not only led to a diverse and rich catalog but has also redefined how stories are told and consumed globally.

The Global Impact and Future of Storytelling

A significant portion of the conversation is dedicated to discussing the global impact of Netflix. Sarandos points out how non-English shows have seen tremendous growth in the U.S., indicating a shift towards a more inclusive and diverse entertainment landscape. He shares his thoughts on the future of storytelling, reflecting on how the relationship between content and its consumers has evolved and will continue to change.

Shaping the Future of Entertainment: Ted Sarandos and the Evolution of Netflix

The second part of the “Smartless” podcast with Ted Sarandos delves deeper into the mechanics of Netflix’s growth, focusing on its strategic shift towards original content. Sarandos recounts the early days when the first pitch for “House of Cards” walked through the door, marking a defining moment for Netflix. This anecdote is not just about the birth of a show but the beginning of a new era in entertainment, where a streaming service could produce high-quality, compelling content that rivaled traditional networks.

Embracing Creativity and Navigating Change

Sarandos speaks about his love for pitches, describing them as the highlights of his day. He emphasizes the importance of embracing creativity and the thrill of discovering an incredible new idea. This part of the discussion reveals the core of Netflix’s philosophy: betting on creatives and giving them the freedom to explore their visions. It’s a testament to the company’s commitment to innovation and its role in driving the entertainment industry forward.

The Global Expansion and Cultural Impact

The conversation shifts to Netflix’s global impact, highlighting its exponential growth from a DVD mailing service to a global streaming giant. Sarandos shares the astonishing increase in subscribers, illustrating how the platform has expanded its reach worldwide. This section offers an insightful look at how Netflix has not only adapted to change but has been a significant force in shaping it, bringing diverse stories to a global audience and redefining the cultural landscape.

Navigating Industry Challenges and Future Visions

As the podcast continues, Sarandos addresses the challenges and criticisms Netflix has faced, particularly around the release of viewership data. His responses shed light on the strategic decisions behind keeping this information private and how it aligns with the company’s broader goals. The discussion also touches on the future of the network system and how traditional networks are adapting to the new streaming era.


The second part of the podcast with Ted Sarandos offers an in-depth look at the strategic thinking, creative philosophy, and visionary leadership that have propelled Netflix to the forefront of the entertainment industry. It provides valuable insights into the company’s approach to content, its impact on global culture, and its ongoing journey in shaping the future of storytelling.