If authors should give up their IP (Intellectual Property) when negotiating with the platform, Francisco Ramos, VP of Content for Latin America at Netflix, said that “each case is unique and in each case, we explore the best options; each production house has to think about the best business model and we respect it at all times”.
Ramos was the guess in the new LEADERS segment of #PRODUprimetime with Ríchard Izarra
THE GREATEST ACCOMPLICE
“Production companies that have business success are very important to us. We want to help them to be successful companies. Only with these production companies can we carry out the projects we want. That is why I want them to know that we are on your side, and we consider you fellow travelers. I am their greatest accomplice, and I think all the producers who work with Netflix know that: that I am their accomplice and their right-hand man." Ramos said.
Ríchard told Paco that many producers have been interviewed in his program “and some complain that platforms allocate lower budgets to our Latin American region than those of other continents, but nevertheless they demand the same quality .... Each project must have its budget and its cost, which not only has to do with the potential audience, but with the most ambitious and most powerful version of that idea, and how much it costs to carry it out. What we cannot do is think of it as a democratization of costs as if it was a serial product. Each product is unique. Each series and each film has something unique that makes it attractive, and that was the reason we bought it. You have to have a unique budget. Everyone is aware that we are making progress in understanding the formula and production design, and the right budget for each idea,” Ramos explained.
About the uncertainty created by the pandemic to plan for the long term, and how long the production boom would last in the region, Ramos replied: “We are very clear that the pandemic, despite how painful it has been for everyone, and for Latin America, very strong, has not affected our plans. We remain steadfast in strategy. Nor have we tried to reduce or increase our investment. We are convinced that what we had planned is what we have to do. We continue with the same firm pace.”
“As a Netflix executive and as a former producer, what I would say to my colleagues and to my producer friends throughout the region, is that the best ideas, with the best creators, with the best directors, with the best screenwriters, will always have a place, and the attention of the viewer, of the human being, who needs to be told stories. We remain firm and very optimistic about the future of the new television that is being developed in Latin America, which is increasingly ambitious. And a new cinema too, increasingly diverse.”
AS NO OTHER
“Today I have the honor of being with one of the leaders in our territory, of a company that has promoted and has bet on our industry like no other. He has over 30 years of experience in audiences, acquisitions, and production. Mexican by birth, he spent about 20 years in Spain working for different renowned television broadcasters and producers, until he joined Netflix about four years ago and settled in Los Angeles. He is Francisco Ramos, Paco Ramos, as he is known in the industry," said Ríchard when introducing his guess in his program. He also recalled that this was not the first time, Izarra interviewed Ramos before, when he was Head of Acquisitions of the new Antena 3 at the beginning of the '90s. He described Netflix as “like no other”, which in addition to promoting original production in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, had also donated significant economic funds to alleviate the paralysis caused by the pandemic.
To that statement, Paco said: “The commitment we talk about so much with the people in front of the camera, but also with the many people behind the camera, is real. You not only go through good times but also complex times. It seemed very important to us to make sure that professionals, artisans, all those who work, who do makeup, clothing, hairdressing, art, music, everyone, know that for us, and for our competitors alike, they are important. They are the ones who really do the work, and giving them that little support in those moments it seemed important to us.”
REPRODUCING THE STREET
Paco emphasized during the conversation that it was very important for the platform that the stories of each country mirror what people see on their own streets. “I believe that the experience for each member does have to be special: what they choose to see must reach them in some way. And for that to happen, the representation on the screen must be similar, credible, to what people see on the streets of the countries in which they live. This is very important because that link with reality is what makes you feel that it is special, that this is unique and that it is yours, and that is very important to us.”
A BIT OF EVERYTHING
He stressed something similar when asked how to increase the subscriber base (“members”, as Paco called them throughout the conversation) in Latin America, where it currently covers 18.2% of the 203 million it has in the world, according to data from Google. “Growth goes through diversity: there has to be a little bit of everything. It happens because that diversity is not only in genres, but in the adequate representation of each country on the screens. It goes through continuing to increase our team of creators, directors, screenwriters, people who from their production companies trust us to bring their ideas to all our members in Latin America and the world. I believe that growth happens because people have the feeling of what they are seeing, it can happen in that way and with that unique look and exclusively in their country. That makes it so unique and so special, that it makes it travel. If we manage to have a very diverse offer and it is perceived that it is not only for a class or for an area, it will be a very big success.”
THE RIGHT PORTRAIT
He spoke of the need to seek the right portrait of our region. “I also believe that we must take advantage of this critical juncture opportunity to work, very firmly, on how the right audiovisual portrait should be in terms of the diversity and complexity that each of the Latin American countries represents. The portrait must be the same as what people see on the street. Just like the world they live in; powerful for LGTBQ + groups, for women, and for the adequate representation of the racial colorism of our countries, which is so diverse, so rich and different in each country.”
He declared himself a fervent promoter of Latin American talent. “It is a magnificent opportunity to show that Latin Americans have an unlimited talent for storytelling. We can tell very powerful stories, not only intellectually and culturally quality, but also with visual quality, with production values at the same very levels of the best productions from around the world. That is what I am committed to!”
TRUTH AND HEART
“I think this is the most important and beautiful moment for Latin American audiovisuals, and for audiovisuals worldwide. What has been discovered in recent years is that the best stories have nothing to do with the language, or with the country of origin. They have to do with the truth, with the heart and the authenticity behind what is being told.”
He addressed other topics such as the new eCommerce, the Spielberg deal, and whether it can be duplicated in LatAm. Also, in the future, a possible production center in the region similar to that of Spain. View interview here