REED Hastings is an entrepreneur, innovator and visionary all rolled into one.
Hastings is the chief executive officer of Netflix—the world’s leading internet entertainment service—which he started back around two decades ago. Unknown to some, the brand did not start out as a streaming service.
“Twenty years ago, when Ted (Sarandos) and I were working on Netflix, the internet was not fast enough to do streaming. So what did we do? We built a DVD-by-mail business. And 20 years ago, Ted and I would go down to Walmart and buy a hundred DVDs, 50 DVDs of each title, and then back in our offices we’d be mailing out these DVDs to people. We were like an Amazon and Blockbuster kind of combination, [exclusive] only in the US.” Ted Sarandos is currently the company’s chief content officer. And currently, Netflix is no simple business with 130 million paid memberships in over 190 countries.
Over the weekend, Netflix hosted its “See What’s Next” event over at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Netflix has been doing its “See What’s Next” events since 2016, but last weekend’s event was its first in Asia.
Staying true to Netflix’s vision of capturing a truly global audience, the brand announced commissioned projects coming out from some of the biggest countries in Asian filmmaking—Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India and South Korea. US produced content was also very well represented at the event with talents from shows “House of Cards,” “Narcos: Mexico,” “Mowgli” and “The Umbrella Academy” present. Another highlight of SWN: Asia was the first-ever screening of the first non-scripted Netflix International Original from South Korea—”Kingdom.”
Netflix also announced five new Anime titles that are Netflix Originals: “Pacific Rim,” “Altered Carbon,” “Cagaster of an Insect Cage,” “Yasuke” and “Trese.” “Trese” is based on the Philippine graphic novel by the same name, created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo. It is set in the city of Manila where mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding among humans, and Alexandra Trese finds herself head to head with these supernatural beings.
“We are extremely excited that ‘Trese’ will be adapted into an animated series by Netflix. ‘Trese’ has always been our love letter to Philippine myth and folklore and now we get the chance to share it with the world. We’re even more thrilled that Jay Oliva is going to be our director since he’s worked on a lot of our favorite animated movies. Of course, this was all made possible by Tanya Yuson and Shanty Harmayn of BASE Entertainment, who saw the potential in ‘Trese’ so many years ago,” Tan shared over an online interview.
As the two-day event came to a close, the filmmaking industry in Asia got a little a taste of the future, as Netflix committed itself in becoming an entertainment hub of truly global content for a global audience. As Hastings would put it, the internet changed how people consumed entertainment, and Netflix was right there at the right moment, delivering content that can now be enjoyed on-demand, personalized and truly worldwide.