It’s been a week since news broke that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s as-yet-unnamed production company has made a deal, reportedly worth in the $100-150 million range, with Netflix. We’re now learning a little – very little – more about how the partnership came together. Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings says that it was co-CEO Ted Sarandos who made it happen, explaining in a recent interview that, “He's worked with them a lot over several years".
It’s interesting too the language that he’s using to describe the Sussexes: “Another great set of producers to provide content that people really want to watch.”
Producers. That’s the key. This is how the Sussexes and Netflix are positioning this – that they are content creators and not just royal celebrities. Hastings expands on that, noting:
"The real focus for them is on being producers and on building that production capacity. That’s the key thing is they’ve developed a great eye for story, and we’ll be working with them on that basis.”
That’s probably why we don’t yet know what the name of the Sussexes’ prodco is – presumably they’ll make that announcement when they have their talent secured, “building on that production capacity”, Reed Hastings said. That’s the work that should be happening now, and the work that should be analysed. As all content is analysed and assessed.
Of course this isn’t the focus with their critics. They used to bitch about the money all the time. But now that they can’t bitch about the money anymore, they’re bitching about the titles, Duke and Duchess, and whether or not Harry and Meghan, since they’re now financially independent, flush with Netflix dollars and no longer needing support from Prince Charles, the royal reporters and anti-Sussex commentators are now fixated on them giving back their titles. I mean, I don’t know how you can un-prince a prince who was gifted a duchy by his grandmother the queen. And what the haters would probably say if Prince Harry was like, here you go, take your duke and duchess sh-t back, is that they’re ungrateful assholes for not keeping a gift that Her Majesty gave them out of love.
In other Sussex news, The Telegraph published the Sussexes’ requirements for doing speaking engagements as laid out in their contract, standardised by their industry according to the industry. Some of the coverage about their “Virtual Event Request Form” has been characterised as a “list of demands”, not unlike the way we always laugh about celebrities and their riders. One colour of candy in the bowls, for example. Or scented candles everywhere. Or 18 doves that have to fly into the sky when said star arrives.
The “list of demands” ended up pretty basic. They need to know who the attendees will be when they show up somewhere to give a speech. They also need to know who the sponsors are and what the sponsors are getting out of the event. And they have approval rights for the moderator.
Ummm… I also have a speaking agency that works to book speaking opportunities for me and the Sussexes’ requirements aren’t all that different from mine – because if you’re giving a speech, don’t you want to know your audience? And if you’re showing up at an event, don’t you want to know who’s funding it? How is a “list of demands” and not just… smart operating procedure? Are we conflating being responsible and strategic with being demanding?