Until Greek-American Ted Sarandos was appointed the chief content officer in 2000, Netflix was company that operated as a DVD-by-mail service. The vision that Mr Sarandos shared with Netflix founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph propelled the organisation to the online content provider giant that has altered the global entertainment industry landscape.
It was thanks to Mr Sarandos, now the co-CEO, that Netflix adapted the British political thriller House of Cards and released the US version starring Kevin Spacey in February in 2013. Up to that point Netflix had been offering online streaming services for several years but House of Cards was the first project that it produced and thanks to Mr Sarandos all 13 episodes of the US series were released on the same day instead of an episode a week as was the practice of conventional television networks.
According to eKathimerini, Mr Sarandos’ data convinced him that political thrillers would be popular for audiences. He ignored standard network practices when he signed a two season deal with the show’s executive producer David Fischer without even looking at the pilot starring Kevin Spacey.
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The deal which was rumoured to be worth $100 million proved to be an inspired one as the show garnered seven Emmy Awards and 56 nominations over the five seasons that it ran.
House of Cards and the later Orange is the New Black helped to establish Netflix as the leading streaming service that forced its competitors to turn to creating their own content.
In 2018 Netflix won an Oscar for Icarus, a documentary exposing doping in sport. The COVID pandemic further propelled Netflix’ standing as it drew 36 million new homebound subscribers in 2020 and 18 million last year. It has close to 222 million subscribers around the world.
Mr Sarandos who is considered one of the main drivers for Netflix success was born Phoenix, Arizona in 1964. His grandfather had migrated to the United States from Samos which he has visited