Netflix has announced three new screen literary adaptations, including one rework based on Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules of Love (Penguin), as its vice-president for international originals, Kelly Luegenbiehl, said the company wants to partner with publishers, not compete against them.
Luegenbiehl said the streaming giant had just signed a deal to adapt Shafak’s book in a Turkish-language series, alongside series based on Anxious People by Swedish author Fredrik Backman and Daniel Kehlmann’s German-language Tyll. Speaking at yesterday’s C.e.o. Talk, she explained what the company looks for in a story: "As we’re looking at things that are more serialised, you have to want to welcome those characters back into your home, episode after episode. Something that can make a story unique and distinctive is the specificity of those characters."
Netflix is looking across all genres, she said, having had success with YA, sci-fi and romance series, among others. "As long as people are curious and excited to watch, we’re going to keep experimenting with new genres," she told the audience.
Asked if the company was in competition with publishers for audiences, she said: "We look at publishers and editors as partners because we are not able to be on the ground in every country, reading every book, so we really look to people to tell us: ‘Here are ideas and stories that are really capturing audiences’ and people’s imaginations’." She added: "It doesn’t necessarily have to be on top of the bestseller lists—that’s not what’s going to make it a great idea."