Katja Hofem

Source: Sylvain Lefevre

Katja Hofem

Netflix is facing a scarcity of creatives as it battles the talent supply issues affecting the whole industry, according to Germany, Switzerland and Austria content chief Katja Hofem.

While the streamer is noted for being able to hand lucrative opportunities to creatives and poach them from rival players, Netflix is witnessing “a lot of challenges in our market” Hofem told delegates during her Series Mania keynote yesterday.

“We face a scarcity of writers, producers, directors and in Germany, especially, we also see a scarcity when it comes to diverse writers,” Hofem said. “And we want to tell all the stories [we can] in the market.”

Netflix’s vice-president of content for the  DACH region said one of her “passion projects” is to tell migrant stories from Germany “that have not been told yet”. They may include stories from the Turkish community that came in the 1970s, and “the identities they [adopted] to fit into that society”.

She said the streaming giant had set up a writing academy for diverse writers and is planning, with the Netflix Turkey team, to run a Turkish-German writers workshop that will hopefully feed back into the Netflix development pipeline.

“At the end of the day, it gives back to us great visions and ideas and we will benefit from them and have some ideas for new series that are telling these stories in a new way and with a new perspective that hasn’t been seen in Germany,” she said.

Hofem was speaking alongside European colleagues Jenny Stjernströmer Björk, vice-president of content, Nordics, and Damien Couvreur, vice-president of series, France. All three are talking up close collaboration between the different territories, which can help spark local creativity.

Netflix’s German slate includes Criminel, about rival gangs from Berlin and Vienna. It marks the streamer’s second collaboration with Marvin Kren, creator of TNT gangster series 4 Blocks.

Hofem noted that Criminel marks “the first time we’re daring to do an action-packed crime thriller series. We can benefit so much from the learning of each territory when it comes to genres like crime”.

She added: “We want to give creatives the best experience working with us. That means we give them the freedom to work on this creative vision that we share for a series, and we give them the tools to express it.”

A version of this story first appeared on Screen’s sister site Broadcast.