On Sunday, Netflix finally won a Golden Globe for a top show category, when its royal drama “The Crown” picked up a best drama series award.
The win ended a drought for Netflix, which had won some acting Globes, but never actually taken home one of the top show or movie categories. And that triumph, along with Claire Foy’s “best actress” win for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, helps to explain why Netflix shelled out a reported $130 million for the show.
“The Crown” was the tentpole of Netflix’s original content strategy in 2016, the prestige drama the company thought had the right mixture of gloss and wide appeal to take home the big awards. And it seems that Netflix was right.
Last month at the UBS media conference in New York, Netflix’s content boss Ted Sarandos explained a simple reason why Netflix bet big on “The Crown”: Everyone knows the Queen.
“Queen Elizabeth is probably the most famous human being on the planet right now,” he said. The world knows the history of her, the monarchy, and her family. Though Sarandos didn’t characterize her like this, in some ways she is the biggest reality star on the planet, except most people don’t know much about her private life. For Netflix, it was an opportunity to tell that inner story.
“The show really works because it is the story of the family,” Sarandos said. It shows her flesh and blood. “Oddly, she is relatable.”
Sarandos also mentioned the confidence Netflix had in the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, who brought both writing chops and a knowledge of the world he was depicting.
But all the glitz and talent that went into producing “The Crown” rested on that one truth, that people just really like watching, reading, and hearing about Queen Elizabeth.