Meet the Netflix new boss, same as the old boss

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There was a quaint time when Hollywood companies feared the encroachment of Silicon Valley on their domain. The time of fear is nearly over because the transition is complete. Netflix on Thursday promoted its content chief Ted Sarandos to co-CEO alongside co-founder Reed Hastings. The Northern California company now officially is a TV- and film-production outfit with good technology, a superior business model, and more-ruthless-than-average operators.

Sarandos has been running content for years, pumping first old then new productions into the mail-order-then-streaming engine the nerds up north built for him. If Sarandos stood out from his Hollywood peers, it was through how he trained agents and their clients to accept payment for their services rather than take a cut from the content’s performance. Other than when it suits promotional purposes, Netflix doesn’t report viewership. And it’s impossible to attribute revenue generated from a particular property. But it can promise a potential audience of closing in on 200 million subscribers. (Netflix certainly knows how buzzy titles drive signups and promote retention, and it spends accordingly on marketing.)

The company’s stock plummeted because of a light subscriber growth forecast after it reported earnings Thursday. That’s what healthy, happy, productive people in a pandemic call a success problem.


I belatedly noticed that at the end of May, TikTok executive Liu Zhen left the company, which media attributed to TikTok’s efforts to Americanize its management. Those include the hiring of ex-Disney bigwig Kevin Mayer as CEO. Liu worked at Uber before TikTok parent Bytedance and is a cousin of Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu.


Fortune‘s Jen Wieczner has written a great explanation of fintech’s role in the PPP program.


Watching this hilarious yet tragic video, I couldn’t help thinking about Trump apologist Peter Thiel’s 2016 plea that people take the reality TV star seriously but not literally. It’s clear that many people have taken his downplaying of the importance of wearing masks, never mind the miraculously disappearing coronavirus, seriously and literally. The results are obvious.

Adam Lashinsky


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This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman.

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