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Netflix goes blue-chip with Planet Earth creators

Streaming service Netflix is going after the blue chip factual audience by commissioning a landmark 4K natural history series from the creators of the BBC hit Planet Earth.

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Alastair Fothergill

The subscription on-demand platform has partnered with wildlife organisation WWF and Alastair Fothergill’s Silverback Films on Our Planet, which will run to eight parts.

Silverback previously produced big-budget BBC factual series Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and Blue Planet, and the move is by far the biggest single play in this space Netflix has made to date.

The commission comes soon after the launch of XiveTV and CuriosityStream, a pair of subscription on-demand platforms dedicated to factual programming.

Our Planet will premiere in all Netflix territories in 2019, and the four-year production schedule is being billed as “the largest of its kind ever attempted”.

It will include footage in never-before-filmed wildness areas such as polar ice caps, deep oceans, deserts and remote forests. Shot in 4K, the show will employ “a range of specially produced storytelling for multi-media platforms will bring millions of people into intimate contact with some of the world’s rarest animals and most precious natural habitats”.

The WWF will provide Silverback with “unparalleled access” to its projects in protected areas, and will collaborate on multimedia content that will run on various connected platforms.

“Netflix is proud to be the global home for perhaps Silverback’s most ambitious project to date,” said Lisa Nishimura, Vice President, Netflix Original Documentaries.

“The Planet projects have enjoyed great success on Netflix and have helped launch new technologies for viewing at home. We think watching Our Planet, fully on demand in 4K will be an unforgettable experience for our members.”

WWF executive producer Colin Butfield called the show a “completely unique collaboration”, while Fothergill, Silverback’s executive producer, said it would “raise the bar for natural history landmarks”.