Chances are that you’ve already heard that there was a large deal that Netflix made in order to work with Barack and Michelle Obama for content exclusive to the platform. Now, The Huffington Post reports that a large development has been made in terms of these projects moving forward.
Sources first told The Hollywood Reporter that filmmaker Priya Swaminathan will help develop projects for the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions this past Friday. Previously, she was the head of development at Annapurna Pictures, the company behind several prestigious films, including Oscar-winning titles “Her” and “Phantom Thread.”
This is also a fitting project for Swaminathan, seeing that she has been active in efforts to champion films by women and people of color and promote diversity and inclusion in general. She has also been active in the Time’s Up movement against workplace sexual misconduct.
At the moment, though, with neither Netflix or the Obamas putting together a formal statement, we’re going to have to wait to see what this new hire has in store for the projects. The production deal was originally announced in May, and is still skeletal. One source close to the deal has supposedly said that the first projects would not appear on Netflix until at least late 2019. With this said, presidents turned media moguls is an interesting second career choice and could add to the legacy of the Obamas in a whole new way.
Chances are that this is music to the ears of Netflix’s growing black audience, which we covered in a previous article.
“According to a Cowen Insights report, 39% of survey respondents age 18-34 use Netflix most often to view video content on their TV’s, well above YouTube at 17%. Basic cable came in at 13% and Amazon Prime Video received a little over 3%, respectively. While a large amount of black content may be a draw for this demographic, historically, good black content has been a draw for non-black audiences as well. “Storylines with a strong black character or identity are crossing cultural boundaries to grab diverse audiences and start conversations,” said Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president of Communications and Multicultural Marketing at Nielsen.”