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Ted Sarandos

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Ted Sarandos
Sarandos in 2016
EducationGlendale Community College
TitleCo-chief executive officer[1]
Michelle Sarandos

Nicole Avant (m. 2009)

Theodore Anthony Sarandos Jr. is an American businessman who is the co-chief executive officer of Netflix, Inc.[2][3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Sarandos was born in Phoenix, Arizona. His father was Ted Sarandos Sr., an electrician, and his mother was a housewife. He is the fourth of five children, with three older sisters and a younger brother.[3][6] Sarandos' paternal grandfather came from the Greek island of Samos to the United States. His grandfather's family name was originally "Kariotakis", but he changed it to "Sarandos".[7]

As a child, Sarandos spent hours watching TV shows like I Love Lucy, The Jack Benny Program and The Andy Griffith Show. He stated that his family did not travel much "so the way to see the world was through books and movies and television."[8] In his teens, he developed a knowledge of film and TV, and strong instincts for what people liked while working at a video store.[8] While writing for his high school newspaper, Sarandos met and interviewed the actor Ed Asner, who was in Phoenix for a local Screen Actors Guild meeting. Asner, then in the height of his Lou Grant period, introduced Sarandos to others in the entertainment industry, for further interviews and connected his interests in entertainment, politics, and journalism.[6] Sarandos attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona.[9][10]

He was promoted to store manager of the Arizona Video Cassettes West chain in 1983 and managed eight retail video stores until 1988.[3][11] In 1988, Sarandos became Western Regional Director of Sales and Operations for one of the largest video distributors in the United States, East Texas Distributors (ETD). Until March 2000, Sarandos was Vice President of Product and Merchandising for the almost 500 store chain, Video City/West Coast Video.[10][12] While at West Coast Video, he was responsible for negotiating revenue deals to migrate the company from the VHS format into the DVD format.[6]


After meeting Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in 1999, Sarandos joined Netflix in 2000.[11][13] He serves as its co-chief executive officer. Before that, he was the company's chief content officer, overseeing Netflix's original programming and entertainment efforts.[14] He is also a member of the Peabody Awards board of directors,[15] which is presented by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. He is also a trustee of the American Film Institute and sits on the boards of Exploring The Arts and Spotify. In 2013, Sarandos was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People.[16]

Sarandos was responsible for initiating the first round of original programming at Netflix, starting with Lilyhammer, and then continuing with the breakout David Fincher series starring Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.[11] Beginning with House of Cards, which was bought for $100 million in a March 2011 deal,[3] Sarandos created the model where Netflix purchases multiple seasons of shows without pilot orders.[17][18] Sarandos sees the focus as being on subscriber growth as a reflection of revenue health over ratings. This has since changed as Netflix has recently decided to initiate an Ad-Supported model which allows the users to pay a lower price but have advertisements on their site.[19]

Sarandos uses algorithms at Netflix[20][21] to predict what programs viewers will want to watch prior to producing them.[11] His personal algorithm focuses on 30% judgement (as a highest priority), with 70% focused on a base of data.[22] He also said that the focus is on the audience, and that there is no programming grid – or appointment linear-based television – that is typically used by traditional TV networks. Barometers of success are if the audience completes watching the show, the timeframe within which they finish watching a series if there is social media buzz by critics and fans. Sarandos said that the preference is for a show to run for multiple seasons and build a fan base.[23] Sarandos believes the model allows the viewer to be in control, and to watch only the content they enjoy.[24] The more serialized the show is, the longer the revenue stream. Sarandos sees cost per hour basis as greater the more total run time there is across the lifetime of a show, as it is often not cost savings to produce less original content once production is underway.[25] He said Netflix aggregates audiences over a very long period of time, where Netflix can tell if a show will be successful by using a regression models that tells Netflix, based on the first hour of viewing, how successful the show will be over the life of its license.[26]

Sarandos has been outspoken about discarding or not holding important traditional network models. Although historically a big broadcast TV fan,[27] he describes the model as now becoming archaic. Sarandos said he sees the new model as a way to prioritize the needs and desires of the consumer.[6][28][11][29] International reach and long tail, niche appeal is also an important part of the business model. The spend is typically a large upfront payment, with no back-end fees to talent and creators, especially of original content that Netflix owns.[30][31] Sarandos said that he sees the Netflix brand as being based on personalization, that it was a deliberate choice on the part of Netflix to focus on providing diverse content that would appeal to the tastes of a broad base of viewers[32] – one that would not be focused on a marquee show that Netflix would be known for, but quality shows that would appeal to different audiences.[25]

Sarandos has said that he sees Netflix as a digital product, where the balance between distributing physical bits of content versus streaming digital content would be cheaper as both broadband and Netflix grew. The shift away from the DVD business came from this evaluation of new model focused on streaming and includes original programming, which is one of the main responsibilities of Sarandos' work at Netflix.[26] During the 2016 Television Critics Association presentation, Sarandos said he expects the amount Netflix spends on original programming to rise considerably.[25][23]

In 2020, Sarandos received the Producers Guild of America Milestone Award.[33] That same year, Netflix announced Sarandos as its co-chief executive officer and member of the company's board of directors. Hastings had referred to Sarandos as his partner in running Netflix in previous years, specifically on film and TV production.[34]

In 2022, Sarandos was named "Entertainment Person of the Year" at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in recognition for his work in entertainment marketing and communications.[35] On January 19, 2023, Hastings stepped down as co-CEO to become Executive Chairman. Greg Peters was named co-CEO alongside Sarandos.[36]


Board and advisory work[edit]

Sarandos is a member of several boards, including:[12]

Personal life[edit]

Sarandos married Michelle Sarandos, his first wife,[51] with whom he had two children, film producer Sarah Sarandos and film editor Anthony Sarandos.[39] In 2009, Sarandos married former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas (2009–2011) Nicole Avant, the daughter of former Motown Chairman Clarence Avant.[12] The couple live in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles,[52] after previously living in Avant's home town of Beverly Hills, California.[53] In 2013, the couple purchased a beach house formerly owned by David Spade in Malibu, California.[54] Sarandos has said he is Catholic.[39]

Sarandos and his wife held a fundraiser for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign in Southern California in 2009, and raised over $700,000 for the Democratic candidate.[55][56]


  1. ^ Rushe, Dominic (January 19, 2023). "Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO of streaming company". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Snider, Mike. "Netflix names Ted Sarandos as co-CEO, surpasses subscriber forecast during coronavirus pandemic". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Segal, David (February 8, 2013). "The Netflix Fix". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Richwine, Lisa; Chmielewski, Dawn (January 20, 2023). "Netflix co-founder Hastings steps down as CEO as company adds subscribers". Reuters. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  5. ^ "Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO of streaming company". the Guardian. January 19, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d Fernandez, Giselle (December 18, 2015). "Big Shots: Full Conversation with Ted Sarandos" (Video interview). Los Angeles. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Papapostolou, Anastasios (January 15, 2016). "Ted Sarandos Talks Netflix Boom and Greek Heritage". Greek Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Edwardes, Charlotte (May 9, 2019). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos: The most powerful person in Hollywood?". Standard.co.uk. Evening Standard.
  9. ^ Bland, Karina (May 19, 2016). "What Ms. Fiedler taught me about telling stories". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Martinson, Jane (March 15, 2015). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos: 'We like giving great storytellers big canvases'". The Guardian. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e Jeffries, Stuart (December 30, 2013). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos: the 'evil genius' behind a TV revolution". The Guardian. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Management: Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer". Netflix. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  13. ^ Auletta, Ken (February 3, 2014). "The Red-Envelope Revolution. Outside the Box: Netflix and the future of television". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Cutter, Chip (July 17, 2020). "Co-CEOs Are Out of Style. Why Is Netflix Resurrecting the Management Model?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "Who We Are". Grady College and University of Georgia. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Tambor, Jeffrey (April 18, 2013). "The 2013 TIME 100".
  17. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (August 25, 2013). "Ted Sarandos upends Hollywood with Netflix revolution". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Aric, Jenkins. "Ted Sarandos was already co-CEO of Netflix". Fortune.com.
  19. ^ "Netflix Starting from $6.99 a Month".
  20. ^ Simon, Phil (March 2013). "Big Data Lessons From Netflix". Wired. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  21. ^ Magnusson, Jeff (November 14, 2013). "Big Data Data Platform as a Service @ Netflix". Netflix @ QCon SF 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  22. ^ Wu, Tim (January 27, 2015). "Netflix's Secret Special Algorithm Is a Human". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Jarvey, Natalie; Goldberg, Lesley (July 27, 2016). "Ted Sarandos on Netflix Programming Budget: "It'll Go Up" From $6 Billion". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  24. ^ Wu, Tim (December 5, 2013). "Netflix's War on Mass Culture". The New Republic. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Sepinwall, Alan (January 26, 2016). "Why Matt Weiner 'would lose' if he wanted to make a weekly Netflix show". HitFix. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Sarandos, Ted; Bedol, Brian; Clemons, Steve (October 28, 2013). "The New Television Disrupters" (video). The Aspen Institute. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  27. ^ Lear, Norman; Sarandos, Ted (2014). "The Power of Storytelling: Plotting the Future of Media". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  28. ^ Arnold, Shayna Rose (July 27, 2015). "Big Shots: Ted Sarandos". Los Angeles. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  29. ^ Adalian, Josef (December 1, 2015). "How Hollywood Gossips About Netflix's Hidden Ratings". Vulture. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  30. ^ Belloni, Matthew; Rose, Lacey (August 10, 2016). "TV Titans Roundtable: 5 Chiefs Spar Over the Future (and Netflix's Role as Arch-Frenemy)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  31. ^ Belloni, Matthew; Rose, Lacey (August 10, 2016). "THR Full TV Executives Roundtable: ft. The Titans Behind HBO, Netflix, AMC, A+E, & NBCUniversal" (Video). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  32. ^ Carr, David (February 24, 2013). "For 'House of Cards,' Using Big Data to Guarantee Its Popularity". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  33. ^ a b McNary, Dave (October 25, 2019). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos to Receive Producers Guild's Milestone Award".
  34. ^ "Netflix Caps Its Hollywood Transformation With Sarandos Move". Bloomberg. July 16, 2020.
  35. ^ a b Whitlock, Jesse (June 10, 2022). "Cannes Lions Gong For Netflix's Ted Sarandos; Studio Pictures Lockdown Quizmaster Option; Discovery+ 'Estonia' Sequel; French Animation Short — Global Briefs". Deadline.
  36. ^ "Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO of streaming company". the Guardian. January 19, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  37. ^ "AGLN – Aspen Global Leadership Network: User Profile – Ted Sarandos". Aspen Institute. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  38. ^ Tambor, Jeffrey (April 18, 2013). "The 2013 TIME 100. Ted Sarandos: Netflix chief content officer, 48". Time. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  39. ^ a b c Daunt, Tina (March 19, 2014). "Wiesenthal Center, Hollywood Power Elite Honor Netflix's Ted Sarandos". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  40. ^ Torok, Ryan (March 28, 2014). "Moving and Shaking: Ted Sarandos honored, Persian New Year and Righteous Conversations Project PSAs". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  41. ^ Carey, Matthew (2015). "How Ted Sarandos Transformed Netflix into a Global Doc Streamer". International Documentary Association. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  42. ^ "Ted Sarandos, 2015 Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award Recipient". NATPE 2015. November 24, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  43. ^ "NATPE 2015: 12th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards". NATPE 2015. January 22, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  44. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (August 1, 2017). "Judd Apatow, Kathryn Bigelow, Ted Sarandos To Be Honored With SAG-AFTRA Foundation Award". Deadline.com.
  45. ^ "Thomas Lennon on the legacy of National Lampoon". Metro US. February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  46. ^ "'Oppenheimer' director Christopher Nolan to be given knighthood". Reuters. March 28, 2024. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  47. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 19, 2020). "Ron Meyer Steps Down As Academy Museum Board Chair Post NBCU Exit". Deadline. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  48. ^ "About ETA: Ted Sarandos, Board Treasurer". Exploring The Arts. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  49. ^ Feinberg, Scott (July 26, 2023). "Ariana DeBose Among Three New Trustees of AFI (Exclusive)". HollywoodReporter.com.
  50. ^ Thorne, Will (December 11, 2019). "Peabody Awards Add Six New Members to Board of Directors". Variety.com.
  51. ^ "Theodore A Sarandos – United States Public Records". FamilySearch. July 1, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  52. ^ David, Mark (June 17, 2015). "Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas Sell L.A. Estate at Record Shattering Price". Variety. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  53. ^ David, Mark (August 25, 2015). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos Selling Beverly Hills Traditional Home". Variety. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  54. ^ Abramian, Alexandria (July 25, 2013). "Netflix's Ted Sarandos Buys David Spade's Malibu Beach House". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  55. ^ Daunt, Tina (April 25, 2012). "Obama's $500,000 Power Couple". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  56. ^ Reisinger, Don (May 22, 2018). "Netflix Users Threaten Boycott Over Obama Content Deal". Fortune. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

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