Ted Sarandos to keynote BANFF ’21

Ted Sarandos Headshot
The address from Netflix's co-CEO and chief content officer is set to take place on the opening day of BANFF 2021.

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos will give a virtual keynote as part of the 2021 virtual edition of Banff World Media Festival (BANFF), the festival announced Tuesday.

Sarandos’ session will be part of BANFF’s Summit Series and is scheduled to take place June 14, on the opening day of the month-long international festival.

“Over the last 10-plus years we have been thrilled to share great stories with Canadians, and work with some of the best creators from across the country,” said Sarandos in a statement.

The virtual appearance at BANFF coincides with the 10th anniversary of Netflix’s launch in the Canadian market. In that time, the streaming giant has amassed around seven million domestic subscribers, spent billions on content production in Canada (according to Netflix, it has spent $2.5 billion in Canada since 2017), established partnerships with dozens of Canadian organizations, including the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative, and commissioned Canadian projects and coproductions such as Jusqu’au déclin, Blown AwayAnne With an EFrontier and The Last Kids on Earth

More recently, Sarandos revealed in a blog post that Netflix will open a Canadian office and hire a dedicated content executive to work directly with the Canadian creative community.

“As we expand our local presence further, collaborating with partners like the Banff World Media Festival helps us deepen these relationships and bring more Canadian entertainment to our members around the world,” added Sarandos, who had previously been scheduled to give a keynote at last year’s BANFF until the festival pivoted online due to the pandemic.

In his role as co-CEO and chief content officer, Sarandos oversees the teams tasked with commissioning original content and acquisitions. He has led Netflix’s content operations since 2000 and spearheaded the company’s move into original content in 2013, which marked a sea change in the shift to digital content consumption.

“The impact that Ted Sarandos and Netflix have had on the entertainment business and on the lives of people around the globe is impossible to quantify and has become much more evident over the past year,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director, Banff World Media Festival.

“Ted continues to support new voices and champion groundbreaking work, raising the bar for creative excellence. The festival is thrilled to welcome him as Netflix Canada celebrates its 10th anniversary, for what is sure to be an inspiring keynote conversation, outlining his global vision and tackling some of the big questions in the industry and where it’s headed amid continuing seismic change,” added Kuzmyk.

This year’s edition of BANFF – the festivals 42nd in total – runs from June 14 to July 16.