Obamas strike multiyear production deal with Netflix

Agreement covers scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have signed their first big media deal since leaving the White House with Netflix

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have signed their first big media deal since leaving the White House with Netflix

 

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have signed their first big media deal since leaving the White House with Netflix, bringing the former US president to the streaming service that produced American political drama House of Cards.

It is the latest high-profile signing for Netflix after recent deals with Shonda Rhimes, who produced Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and Glee creator Ryan Murphy.

The Obamas have struck a “multiyear” agreement with Netflix that could include both scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films, the company announced on Monday. The couple have formed a new production company, Higher Ground Productions, to create the shows.

“We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” Mr Obama said.

Mrs Obama added: “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

Global platform

Netflix provides the couple with a platform to reach 125 million people around the world. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said he was “incredibly proud” they had chosen to work with the Silicon Valley-based company.

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognised public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” he said.

It is unclear how overtly political the Obamas’ shows for Netflix will be. The New York Times reported on Monday that the former president has told associates he would not “wage a public campaign” against President Donald Trump or conservative broadcasters such as Fox News.

In March, Netflix named to its board Susan Rice, the former UN ambassador and national security adviser under the Obama administration. The move angered some American right wingers, who called for a boycott of the streaming service.

Netflix stock was trading 1.6 per cent higher on Monday after the Obama deal was announced. The company’s market capitalisation of $143 billion (€122 billion) is now just $12 billion (€10 billion) behind that of Walt Disney Company, America’s most valuable media group.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018