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Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and Greek PM Talk Audiovisual Future

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos met with Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Thursday. Credit: Dimitris Papamitsos (Greek Prime Minister’s Office)

In a meeting on Thursday with Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed that his country’s expansion in the audiovisual sector will help boost its economy and prominence on the world stage.

The two met at the official residence of the PM in Athens, where Mitsotakis “emphasized that the government appreciates the economic and cultural value of the sector, but also the opportunity it offers for the promotion” of Greece globally, according to a statement from his office.

Among the government officials at the meeting were Minister of State and Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis and Nikolas Giatromanolakis, Deputy Minister responsible for Contemporary Culture.

Greece has made big strides when it comes to digital connectivity in recent years and has also become something of an international filming destination. The 2021 Netflix action thriller Beckett was shot entirely in Greece and nearly twenty international movies were expected to be filmed in the country last year, according to estimates released last summer. Netflix’s Lost Daughter, released last year and starring Olivia Colman, was shot on the island of Spetses.

In April, Greece’s state agency, Enterprise Greece, approved the fast-tracking of a 100 million euro Microsoft investment project for three data centers in the country. These will be located at Spata and Koropi in the Attica region and provide technical business support and cloud computing services to Greece. It is expected that three hundred new jobs will be created over the next ten years through the project.

Sarandos and Mitsotakis Meeting

Netflix, which has been operating in Greece since 2016, also has a connection with the country through its co-CEO. Sarandos, who was promoted to his current role in 2020, is a Greek-American whose paternal grandfather immigrated as a boy to the US from the Greek island of Samos. Sarandos’ family name was originally Kariotakis, but the grandfather eventually changed it to Sarandos.

Still a juggernaut in the streaming world, Netflix had a rough first quarter in 2022. It lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months, according to a company announcement back in mid-April. The drop represented a huge loss for Netflix, which originally estimated it would add 2.5 million subscribers during the same period. The company blamed the results on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with fierce competition and rising inflation that put a damper on spending.

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