The visionary and Shondaland Media founder has officially signed a multiyear deal with the mega streaming platform that will expand the partnership’s content beyond television and include films, gaming, live events, and more.
The move follows Rhimes’ wildly successful series Bridgerton that saw nearly 82 million viewers tune into at least two minutes of the show, as indicated by new analytics rolled out by Netflix. The move also comes as trends show subscriber numbers for Netflix slowing down as pandemic restrictions roll back in countries across the globe and as streaming service competition increases.
Netflix Co-Chief Executive and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview that, “I want [Rhimes] to think of Netflix as the biggest canvas possible to create on.” Rhimes and her relationship with Netflix go back to 2017, when she signed a multi-million dollar extension that covered Shondaland Media and her producing partner, Betsy Beers.
It’s clear the success comes not only from Rhimes’ ingenuity as a writer and television producer but also in the budget and freedom a space like Netflix can offer a legendary creator. Network television has been fighting an uphill battle against content readily available on the streaming platform, as well as the envelope the service’s films and television series pushes. Actors can swear, be grittier and more authentic, and navigate spaces that seem more violent than most in comparison to network television.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix added four million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, 40% lower than the six million it had forecast to Wall Street. With this aggressive push for content beyond film and television, Netflix more than likely hopes to bolster its current subscriber base with new patrons engaging with other forms of entertainment media.
Regardless, Shonda Rhimes is a powerhouse who rarely misses, so the deal is sure to spell success for her team and the folks at Netflix.