Authenticity and local immersion key for Netflix’s original international content

Meridian International Center welcomed Bela Bajaria, Vice President of International Originals at Netflix, for an intimate breakfast conversation with Embassy cultural attachés on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. Bajaria discussed how public policy, local storytelling and emerging market opportunities shape different styles of programming for various cultures. Bajaria cited Nordic countries’ "obsession" with dark drama, while other regions such as Africa showed no interest in darker content, saying "we have enough of that."

The talk also revolved around how Netflix’s foreign originals can be promoted to U.S. audiences and how Meridian provides a platform for embassies to become cultural ambassadors for Netflix international viewers.

"Meridian provides a unique opportunity for us (Netflix) to engage with leaders from the diplomatic corps, government and key industry stakeholders. Today's event at the Meridian allowed us to foster stronger relationships with these partners; exchange ideas on culture and local investment; and highlight our commitment to bringing diverse international stories, by talented storytellers, to a global audience," Bajaria said.

According to Bajaria, Netflix strives to be a positive presence in the countries where they are filming an original. Netflix often trains and hires locals for jobs, giving them skills and economic means that benefit their future. Bajaria emphasized the importance of finding a diverse set of filmmakers so a larger variety of stories can connect cultures through entertainment and universal themes.

Project summary

Authenticity and local immersion key for Netflix’s original international content
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: United States
Impact Areas: Public Diplomacy
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector