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The Greek who has found Hollywood for the Internet

08 December 2014 / 13:12:36  GRReporter
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Ted Sarandos, the man who has revolutionized TV making, is one of the most powerful and influential Greeks in the world. The manager of the web-platform Netflix is considered as a guru who opens new horizons to the relentless television market.

Last year the influential TIME magazine included Sarandos in the list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Britain's Guardian even used the attribute "devilish" for him.

The objective side of the story is that, through taking well-considered actions, Ted Sarandos has managed to turn the Internet channel into a leading TV of entertaining shows. Netflix competes on a par with the largest television networks in the USA and the productions, many of which are the work of Sarandos himself, have won numerous international film awards, from the "Golden Globe" to "Emmy", in just two years.

Who is he in fact? Theodoros Antonios Sarandos junior or just Ted is a third generation Greek American. He began his career as an ordinary employee in a video club and managed to take up the position of programme manager of the rapidly developing company Netflix, which was established in 1997 as a company for online film renting.

Sarandos made the revolutionary move in 2007 by offering the registered platform users the opportunity to watch shows and films on their computers and smart TVs. In practice, he just utilized the opportunities provided by technological development, turning the internet platform Netflix into an ordinary TV with enviable large audiences.

Ted Sarandos with US President Barack Obama and his wife Nicole Avant who was appointed Ambassador of the Bahamas

Today the company is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange and is a true media giant with over 53 million subscribers in 52 countries, who watch films, shows and series with a total duration of 2 billion hours per month.

Under the leadership of Sarandos, in 2012 the platform was engaged in production activities by creating a unique programme that attracted a huge number of viewers. At the same time, it began working with major film studios, thus improving its position in the market. The series "House of Cards" and "Orange is The New Black" are extremely popular among millions of viewers worldwide. Meanwhile, the company has announced that it is working on dozens of new productions that will be broadcast in 2015-2016.

Ted Sarandos with actors Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey starring in the cult series "House of Cards" on Netflix

Indicative of the success of Netflix is the fact that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has recently urged international traditional media to unite to stand together against the enemy that is a threat to their existence. "We are working in the most difficult media market in the world and we already have many competitors. At the same time, we have contracts with Murdoch and his company. So, we are competitors but also collaborators," says Ted Sarandos in turn. He adds that the platform is not an absolute threat to the stability of traditional televisions. "Netflix broadcasts series of 21st Century Fox Film Company, which belongs to Murdoch. Within five years, our platform will become international and will be available in most, but not all, markets in the world. We will surely increase the duration of our film productions more than any other network but we will not rely on them alone on the other hand. We will continue to redeem the rights to broadcast the series of other television networks."

In an interview with the Greek newspaper "Ethnos", Sarandos states, "People perceive TV differently compared to the beginning of the 21st century. The reason for this is not only the platform Netflix but also the advent of cable television and the Internet in general. We are faced with the huge requirements of a generation that wants to be able to watch all TV shows "on demand".

Ted Sarandos with Vince Vaughn and John Travolta

Since 2012 Netflix has been in the European market by entering the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. The platform has recently become available in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. "We intend to launch it in Greece but I do not know exactly when this will happen. Our goal is for Netflix to be everywhere," says Sarandos. In addition, profits are growing accordingly. In 2014 alone, the budget for the programme amounted to $ 3 billion. According to Sarandos, it will increase according to the rise in the number of subscribers.

Ted Sarandos was born in 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona and his Greek origin is from his grandfather on his father's side. "My grandfather Alex Kiriazakis was born on the island of Samos. He came to America as a teenager and changed his surname to Sarandos. You know the name "Sarandos" is a very popular name on the island and my grandfather decided to use it," states his grandson, who has become one of the most successful managers in the world.

What is the formula of his success? It is the following: "I remember that I wanted to become a journalist, but things did not work out... While I went to school I worked in a video club. I liked my job and was good at it. Then, my first real job was in a big chain of video clubs too. I have always wanted to gain my income from a job I am keen on and it is entertainment. The secret of success for me is to be surrounded by people who are smarter than me and not be afraid to give them power, as well as to listen to what they tell me."

*Based on a publication in the Greek "Ethnos" newspaper.

Tags: MediaMedia newsInternet platformTV on demandNetflixTed SarandosManager
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