Netflix executive: I would hate to see the BBC diminished in its impact

Netflix executives have voiced their support for the BBC and said the corporation’s strength and creativity is one of the reasons the streaming service has set up a base in the UK.

Giving evidence to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Netflix chiefs were asked how dependent the service is on talent developed by public service broadcasters (PSBs).

Anne Mensah, vice president of original series at Netflix, said: “Creatively I think you can’t extract one part of the creative industries in the UK from another, as much as we work with talent that have flown through the PSBs, we also work with talent that flows through theatre and that is why us being based here, so that we are a proper thoughtful part of the industry, is so important.

“And I think it works both ways, we have nurtured some brand new writers in Netflix. Someone like Laurie Nunn, who is behind Sex Education, hadn’t created her own series before she was on Netflix but equally by co-producing with the BBC on Dracula we are working with the amazing Steven Moffat, so you can’t separate one thing from another, we all have to work together for the best of the UK industry.”

Benjamin King, director of public policy for the UK and Ireland at the streaming service, added: “It’s impossible to disengage what we do from what the PSBs do, that is by definition what a creative ecosystem is, really.

“I think the impact the BBC has had over the last few decades in building the profile of the UK creatively, in nurturing talent, in its investment in production and so forth, is one of the key reasons we have chosen to make our home here and why we are such strong supporters of what they do and want to see them continue doing that.”

Mensah, who used to work for the BBC, was asked if she thought the licence fee was a sustainable way forward for the BBC long-term.

She said: “I absolutely believe in the long-term sustainability of the BBC, I love the BBC, I think that they make some of the best shows, if you look at what they have done this year from I May Destroy You to A Suitable Boy.

“I back the idea of having a UK creative economy that is built on a number of different models from subscription through to licence and I would hate to see the BBC diminished in its impact in the UK.”

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