Programmes for and by women will make us different, Netflix exec says
The streaming service has launched a string of female-dominated shows including Orange Is The New Black and Glow
Netflix has become a haven for female creatives because it is not beholden to advertisers who need to appeal to specific demographics, one of the most senior executives at the company has said.
Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at the streaming service, also confirmed it is “committed to fairness” and making sure there is not pay disparity between genders.
She told the Press Association: “Obviously that topic (of pay parity) is a live one throughout all industries frankly, and certainly in the entertainment industry, in the US as well.
“We are certainly committed to fairness both at Netflix corporately and then across the industry.
“There has certainly historically been a lot of work to do but we are really encouraged by what is happening now and the fact that it is a big topic is a major improvement.”
Asked if Netflix is committed to making sure there is not pay disparity between genders, Holland replied: “Yes.”
The executive hailed the raft of programmes created by and starring women on the service, including Orange Is The New Black, Glow and Gypsy.
She said: “Half the world’s population are women, about half of our member base are women, and we think it’s only natural that we be providing programming that is particularly of interest to women.
“I do think women have historically been represented but also under-represented and I think we are seeing a real evolution in the business and a recognition that female audiences are important and worthy of real exploration creatively.”
Referring to creatives such as Orange Is The New Black showrunner Jenji Kohan and Glow creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, she said: “We have a keen interest in having a really diverse crew behind the camera as well as in front and we have found that in shows like Orange or Glow, you have women coming from all over the industry wanting to work on those shows.
“We are seeking to provide programming for everybody and that includes programming that is specifically for women and we see that there is a real opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves.
“Many networks are very specialised demographically so they are trying to programme to men 18-29 or sometimes women 18-29, they are looking to attract in their demographic usually for advertising purposes.
“Because we are not advertiser supported we are really just looking to provide really great stories and our members will vote with their eyeballs and their wallets every month as to whether we are doing a good job.”
Asked if she sees Netflix as a haven for creatives who struggle to get their ideas realised on other platforms, she said: “I think that naturally happens.
“We didn’t set out with that explicit goal, our goal was to provide a really diverse and eclectic set of programming for our audiences’ eclectic tastes and a by-product of that is when people see that we are providing opportunities to a lot of new talent then they come to us and want to talk to us about their ideas.”