Netflix’s Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series, spoke about the streamer’s dive into sports-themed content and the smashing success of “Beckham” — its docuseries chronicling the life and marriage of famed footballer David Beckham and Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice — at Content London on Wednesday.
Riegg said Netflix did not give editorial control away on “Beckman.” “We retained final cut in no different than any of the sports leagues,” he said, adding that Netflix “talked to all of the talent and partners. We want them to feel invested and as a stakeholder, but also understand that our job and the producer’s job is to tell the best version of that story and to encompass and cover whatever they think is meaningful.”
The executive also revealed Beckham didn’t watch the series until after it had premiered on Netflix. “I don’t think he or Victoria had seen any of it. So they came in, I think as fans and also, you know, waiting to see what had been put together. But they were really pleased with how it turned out,” said Riegg, who described Beckham as an “incredibly thoughtful, genuine person.”
In recent years, the streamer has achieved significant success with several sports-themed unscripted shows such as “F1: Drive to Survive” and is looking to do more going forward, Riegg told the conference’s attendees.
“Sports is sort of an incredible storytelling engine. I always say it’s the biggest soap opera that exists, right? You never really know what you’re going to get,” said Riegg, who admitted being a “massive sports fan” himself.
He said that while Netflix isn’t in the live sports rights business, “we’ve done a terrific job of creating shows and coming up with franchise that really feed that appetite and also give fans and even non-fans alike, a different glimpse into the worlds and the characters that inhabit them. “
Riegg said Netflix isn’t looking to invest heavily in live sports, like other streamers such as Prime Video.
“Ted Sarandos, our CEO, has said, ‘We’re not anti-sport. We’re pro-profit,” Riegg said. “So it’s just not aligned with sort of our strategy and business model. I think there are some terrific platforms that get those live rights, and we’re just looking to again tap into that fandom with our narrative programming.”