US film streaming service Netflix paid a record amount to buy the rights to show the Russian series “Better than People” from the online video service Start, owned by producers Yellow Black & White and Gazprom-media, the media arm of Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom, the newspaper Kommersant reported.
The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but according to one of the sources of the publication, it could reach a $1mn, which would be a record for a media rights sale in Russia.
The series will be the first among Russian TV projects to be released on the platform under the Netflix Original brand with a local dubbing (localization is planned for 25 countries).
“Better than humans” is a scifi drama series about the near future, where android robots have become part of society. The first 16 episodes have already appeared on the Start Internet platform and on the state-owned First Channel online cinema, but will later be shown on free to air television. The budget for the first series was about RUB20mn ($300,000) and the whole project cost about RUB320mn ($4.8mn).
This is not the first Russian media production that Netflix has bought. Earlier the American platform bought the rights to the TV series "Trotsky", "Method" and "Major" from the production company Sreda Alexander Tsekalo, animation for the company DTV, and the wildly popular children’s animated series "Masha and the Bear" among other projects.
Most recently Netflix bought the 12-series “Challenging Go” from NTV in September in a deal estimated at $500,000 that was considered at that time Netflix’s biggest deal in Russia.