Netflix is providing a welcome boost for the content creation sector in Central and Eastern Europe.
Having launched across the region offering mostly US films and series, it gradually began to localise its service and add domestically produced content, in part to meet new European quotas. It then went a stage further and started to commission local productions that would appeal to a wider, international audience.
This strategy appears to be paying off. Indeed, according to new research just published by Ampere Analysis, Netflix has now become the leading commissioner of new European scripted content across the continent as a whole. Last year, despite the negative impact of Covid-19 on the production sector, it commissioned no fewer than 72 new TV shows, compared to 43 in 2019. This was almost twice as many as ARD and France TV, and around a third more than ZDF and the BBC.
In CEE, Netflix has been particularly active in Poland. The first TV series it commissioned was 1983, set in an alternative reality Poland in which communism never fell. It was released in November 2018, and more recently it will at some stage this year also premier three more series – Sexify, Rojst ’97 and Otwórz Oczy (Open your eyes), along with the animated series Kajko i Kokosz.
In addition, Netflix will premier new Polish films, including How I fell in love with a gangster, and a new eight-part series on Slav mythology named Axis Mundi, in 2021/22. It has also commissioned two sequels of the erotic drama 365 Days, which has been widely viewed on Netflix throughout the world.
Elsewhere in the region, Czech films are becoming an increasingly regular feature on Netflix. What is more, a crime series named The world under your head, and produced by Ceska Televize (CT), TV Joj and Bionaut, has proved to be a big hit and could pave the way for more Czech productions.
CEE facilities are also increasingly being used to produce content for Netflix. In Hungary, for instance, Mafilm Studios make the German series Terra Vision.
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