Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have signed a multi-year agreement to produce content exclusively at Netflix, one of their first projects since stepping back from their royal duties in January and moving to California.
- Netflix will pay the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to create documentaries, documentary series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming through their yet-to-be-named production company, both parties confirmed to the New York Times.
- Prince Harry and Markle said their focus will be creating content that “informs but also gives hope” as well as family programming and noted that the deal with Netflix, which has 193 million subscribers worldwide, gives them “unprecedented reach” to “share impactful content that unlocks action.”
- Although Markle was an actress for multiple years, having appeared most recently on Suits, the couple does not have prior production experience.
- Prince Harry and Markle already have an animated series in development focused on inspiring women and Netflix released Rising Phoenix last week, a documentary about the Paralympic Games featuring Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games for wounded veterans.
- Prince Harry and Markle reportedly met with Netflix competitors Disney, Apple and NBCUniversal in recent months, meaning it is possible there was a bidding war.
- Although Netflix didn’t disclose how much it is paying the couple, the streamer has a history of paying a high price to work exclusively with influential people: It reportedly paid Black-ishcreator Kenya Barris $100 million, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shondra Rhimes $150 million, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy up to $300 million, and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss $200 million for multi-year contracts.
Netflix, which got its start mailing DVDs of movies, has become a production company as it has created its own TV series and movies to compete for viewers with Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock and the traditional broadcast networks. Netflix’s TV series The Crown features the British royal family. Prince Harry and Markle’s deal follows a similar one Netflix inked with former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions in 2018.
Prince Harry and Markle have been in the spotlight more since stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family, meaning they no longer formally represent Queen Elizabeth and may not have to follow as many of the royal protocols. Markle received some criticism last month for participating in a virtual voting registration event for Michelle Obama’s nonpartisan organization When We All Vote, with some people including journalist Piers Morgan calling for her to lose her title for allegedly violating royal protocol. At a virtual summit last month for the new women-focused publication The 19th, Markle spoke candidly about the protests following George Floyd’s death, racism and the importance of voting and alluded to the previous restrictions. She noted that she has been able to use her voice “in a way that I haven’t been able to of late,” adding, “it’s good to be home.”