Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Lilyhammer" Premieres Today

Hello. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix here.

Do you love the indulgence of watching episode after episode of your favorite shows on Netflix?

Have you ever wished you could do the same with new shows when they premiere on TV?

Well, starting today, you can enjoy as many episodes as you please of the brand new Netflix Original Series "Lilyhammer," starring Steven Van Zandt.

Van Zandt has had only a few jobs in his life. One of them is playing with Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band. His other job was acting in one of the best TV shows in American history, "The Sopranos"..Not bad. Today he builds on that impressive resume, acting writing and producing "Lilyhammer" for Netflix.

In this quirky fish-out-of-water comedy, Van Zandt plays a New York mobster, who after testifying against a mob boss, is placed in witness relocation in Lilyhammer Norway. His character will be familiar to U.S., Canadian and Latin American audiences, but the setting and situations are brand new.

This show is different in many ways. First of all, this is surely the most ambitious original show to premiere online in history. The presence of an American star like Van Zandt and the production quality and the length of the episodes position "Lilyhammer" in the class of programing usually only found on premium pay television.

Van Zandt's character understands Norwegian, but doesn't speak it well, so the folks he encounters speak mostly in their native tongue with subtitles while Stevie speaks in English in the US and Canada. The episodes will be presented fully subtitled in local languages in Latin America. It is highly unusual for a single programmer to debut shows in multiple territories.

It is our hope that we can help to bridge language barriers to bring the world's content to an increasingly global audience. Cable television brought some diversity to the programming grid starting more than 30 years ago. Netflix plans to take that to the next level, using the power and reach of the global Internet. With no physical need for fragmented distribution, the possibilities for a regional TV show or movie to reach a global audience are limitless.

"Lilyhammer" is also showing on Norwegian television and is it it's third week on the air. The show is a national sensation, with 1.2 million of the nations 5 million people watching every week. It is the most watched TV show in Norwegian history.

Unlike any major TV premiere before it, we are debuting all eight episodes of the first season at the same time today. Conventional TV strategy would be to stretch out the show to keep you coming back every week. We are trying to give our members what they want; Choice and control. If you want to watch one episode a week, you can. If you want to watch the whole season this week, you can do that too.

This will be the first of many brand new, original and exclusive series to debut on Netflix. We will have more news on those shows as they get ready to premiere. Enjoy the show and tell your Friends, but no spoilers! they may not be on the same episode as you are on.

By the way, for Springsteen fans, the Boss himself came out for the New York premiere of the show and loved it. That is a pretty sweet endorsement for a new show indeed. The Boss, Stevie and the rest of the E Street band are heading out for a brand new world tour starting next month. He will be back just in time for season 2 of "Lilyhammer."