How to Pitch a Show to Netflix: A Step-by-Step Guide


Netflix sign at company headquarters in Silicon Valley. Netflix, Inc. is an American media-services provider and production company - Los Gatos, California, USA - 2020 Editorial credit: Michael Vi /

Learn how to pitch a TV show to Netflix

In the dynamic landscape of entertainment, there's no platform as influential as Netflix. Its meteoric rise from a DVD rental service to the global streaming leader has transformed how we consume television shows and movies. With its reach spanning across countries and cultures, Netflix has become the dream platform for many creators, writers, and filmmakers. Having your show on Netflix isn't just about prestige—it's about tapping into a vast, engaged global audience hungry for fresh content. But how does one navigate the seemingly labyrinthine process of pitching a show to this streaming behemoth? This guide will illuminate the path, providing insights into the intricacies of the Netflix model, preparing your pitch, and maximizing your chances of seeing your vision come alive on screens worldwide. Whether you're a seasoned producer or a budding storyteller, let's embark on this journey to turn your Netflix dream into reality.

  1. Introduction

    • Brief overview of Netflix's prominence in the entertainment industry.
    • The potential opportunities and reach provided by the platform.
  2. Understanding the Netflix Model

    • A look at Netflix's unique distribution model and why it’s different.
    • Importance of content diversity on Netflix.
    • Netflix's preference for original and unique concepts.
  3. Preparation Before the Pitch

    • Research and Groundwork
      • Studying Netflix's existing content.
      • Identifying gaps or niches in their library.
    • Developing Your Idea
      • Fleshing out the show’s concept.
      • Creating a pilot episode script or detailed episode breakdowns.
    • Preparing a Pitch Deck
      • Importance of visuals, statistics, and clear content breakdowns.
      • Tools and software to consider.
  4. Finding the Right Contacts

    • Importance of networking in the entertainment industry.
    • Using LinkedIn and industry events to connect with Netflix executives.
    • Collaborating with production companies that have existing ties with Netflix.
  5. The Pitch Meeting

    • Setting the right tone and mood.
    • What to expect during the pitch meeting.
    • Common questions and how to address them.
    • Do’s and Don’ts during the meeting.
  6. Post-Pitch: The Waiting Game

    • What happens after the pitch.
    • Potential feedback or revisions.
    • Handling rejection and understanding it’s part of the process.
  7. Securing the Deal

    • Understanding contract terms and negotiations.
    • Revenue models and compensation structures.
    • The production timeline and working with Netflix teams.
  8. Conclusion

    • Emphasizing the potential of having a show on Netflix.
    • Encouragement for persistence and refining ideas based on feedback.
    • Highlighting the importance of passion and belief in one's own concept.


The entertainment landscape has witnessed monumental shifts over the past decade, and at the epicenter of this transformation is Netflix. Beginning its journey as a humble DVD-by-mail service in the late '90s, today, it stands as a global powerhouse in the realm of digital entertainment, boasting over 200 million subscribers from every corner of the world.

Netflix's meteoric ascent can be attributed to its unerring focus on delivering diverse, high-quality content tailored to the tastes of a global audience. From thrilling Spanish heist dramas like "Money Heist" to heartwarming tales of Indian match-making, the platform curates a vast array of content that resonates across boundaries and cultures. This unyielding commitment to innovation and inclusivity has solidified its position at the forefront of the streaming revolution.

For creators, writers, and filmmakers, this spells unparalleled opportunity. Not only does Netflix offer a chance to have one's work showcased to a worldwide audience, but it also provides the creative freedom often restricted by traditional networks. The platform's investment in original content has surged over the years, with billions dedicated annually towards producing unique shows and films.

But it's not just about the numbers. Netflix has become synonymous with pioneering storytelling, giving rise to a new era of television where risks are embraced, conventions are challenged, and diverse voices are celebrated. In essence, pitching a show to Netflix isn't merely about gaining an expansive audience; it's about becoming part of a transformative narrative in the world of entertainment. As we delve deeper into the mechanics of how to pitch a show to this streaming titan, remember, it's a gateway to impact millions of screens, hearts, and minds across the globe.

Understanding the Netflix Model

In the vast sea of entertainment providers, Netflix has carved out a distinct identity, one that's rooted in its innovative approach to content creation, acquisition, and distribution. Here, we unpack the elements that constitute the 'Netflix Model' and explore the attributes that make this platform an industry vanguard.

1. A Revolutionary Distribution Model

Unlike traditional television networks that roll out episodes on a weekly basis, Netflix introduced the world to the binge-watching culture. By releasing entire seasons of shows at once, they changed not only how content is consumed but also how it's produced. This model prioritizes cohesive and intricate storytelling, allowing creators to envisage and execute their projects as unified wholes rather than fragmented episodes. This approach facilitates deeper character development, richer plotlines, and more nuanced narratives, offering an immersive experience for viewers.

2. Championing Content Diversity

One of the hallmarks of Netflix's strategy is its emphasis on diverse content that appeals to a global audience. The platform has invested significantly in international content, understanding that stories from one corner of the world can resonate universally if told authentically. Series like "Stranger Things" might be set in small-town America, but its themes of friendship, adventure, and the supernatural have a global appeal. Similarly, shows from non-English speaking regions, such as "Dark" from Germany or "Sacred Games" from India, have garnered immense popularity beyond their home countries. This global outlook underscores Netflix's commitment to telling a wide array of stories from myriad cultural perspectives.

3. A Hunger for Originality

In the competitive world of streaming, originality is the currency. Netflix, aware of the evolving tastes of its diverse subscriber base, constantly seeks content that is fresh, innovative, and boundary-pushing. The platform has given a platform to indie filmmakers, avant-garde writers, and experimental creators who might have found it challenging to secure deals with more conventional networks. Whether it's the surreal world of "The Umbrella Academy" or the poignant explorations in "BoJack Horseman," Netflix's content often treads the unbeaten path, showcasing stories that are as unique as they are captivating.

In conclusion, understanding the Netflix model is crucial for any creator aiming to pitch to the platform. With its penchant for trailblazing content, commitment to diversity, and a distribution model that has redefined viewing habits globally, Netflix offers a landscape ripe with possibilities. Aligning one's pitch to these core values can greatly enhance the likelihood of capturing the streaming giant's attention and, more importantly, its audience's imagination.

Preparation Before the Pitch

In the world of entertainment, especially when engaging behemoths like Netflix, the adage "Preparation is the key to success" couldn't ring truer. To catch the eye of a platform that receives countless pitches daily, you need to present not just a story, but a vision. Here’s a deep dive into the vital preparatory steps before you pitch your show to Netflix:

1. Research and Groundwork

Studying Netflix's Existing Content:
Before even jotting down your ideas, immerse yourself in the Netflix universe. Watch a range of shows, especially those in genres similar to your idea. Understand their tone, pacing, character development, and narrative structures. This helps in aligning your content with what Netflix might be looking for while ensuring originality.

Identifying Gaps or Niches in Their Library:
While Netflix boasts a diverse library, there are always niches or genres they might be under-serving. Is there a particular demographic or theme that hasn’t been explored thoroughly? Spotting such gaps and tailoring your idea to fill them can give your pitch an edge.

2. Developing Your Idea

Fleshing Out the Show’s Concept:
A mere idea won't suffice. Dive deep into the world you're creating. Who are the main characters? What are their motivations? What conflicts drive the narrative? The more detailed and vivid your concept, the easier it'll be to sell.

Creating a Pilot Episode Script or Detailed Episode Breakdowns:
While the overarching story is vital, Netflix executives will want to know how the narrative unfolds. A pilot script can showcase your storytelling prowess. If not a full script, detailed episode breakdowns provide a roadmap of your vision for the series, offering clarity on how the plot progresses.

The company's creative talent director Christopher Mack discussed how to pitch a show at the 2021 El Gonna Film Festival in Egypt. He says the character is often more important than the plot. "This change is driving people to watch our content. Your job is to make it interesting and engaging. Think about Walter White," said Mack, explaining how to pitch new TV shows to Netflix successfully. "Viewers develop a relationship with the characters; their engagement depends on whether they relate to them or not. Otherwise, they won't care." He added, "What do people want more of? Teen sex? Family scandals? In some countries, these are very sensitive, but push the envelope – that's what we are saying," he said. "The more authentic you are to your culture, the better it travels. Especially during this time of the pandemic, when people are doing their traveling while watching our shows." He added having a relationship with the star of the show also helps. "If it's right for the local broadcaster, it's probably not right for us." Mack described a research analyst who studied TV shows and found having a good teaser goes a long way. "The researcher told me: think about going on a blind date. You walk into the restaurant, you see them and your mind decides whether there is going to be a second date. If you sell a series to us, the executives will ask you to put more story earlier. By the end of the pilot, the viewer must know who is your hero, what they want, their central conflicts, key dynamics and the basic rules of the world." "Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them so that the reader, or a viewer, may see what they are made of."

"Viewers develop a relationship with the characters; their engagement depends on whether they relate to them or not. Otherwise, they won't care."


3. Preparing a Pitch Deck

Importance of Visuals, Statistics, and Clear Content Breakdowns:
A pitch deck is more than just words; it’s a visual representation of your show. Include character sketches, mood boards, and potential set designs. Infuse statistics if your show caters to a niche with significant potential viewership. Clearly break down the content, from character arcs to major plot points, making it easy for decision-makers to grasp the show's essence.

Tools and Software to Consider:
Leverage tools like PowerPoint, Keynote, or specialized software like Canva for creating compelling decks. For those unfamiliar with graphic design, platforms like Slidebean offer templates tailored for pitching, ensuring your deck looks professional and engaging.

In wrapping up, remember that pitching to Netflix is as much about showcasing your idea's potential as it is about demonstrating your dedication and clarity of vision. By conducting thorough research, refining your concept, and curating a visually engaging pitch deck, you increase the likelihood of your show being picked and embark on the exciting journey of transforming your creative vision into a viewing reality.

Finding the Right Contacts

In the bustling world of entertainment, who you know can be as crucial as what you know. With a myriad of pitches reaching Netflix's desk every day, having the right contacts can make all the difference between your idea being considered or slipping through the cracks.

1. Importance of Networking in the Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry thrives on relationships. While raw talent and groundbreaking ideas are pivotal, it's often your network that provides opportunities for your voice to be heard. Establishing and nurturing genuine relationships can open doors that might otherwise remain closed, giving you an inside track into Netflix's hallowed halls.

2. Using LinkedIn and Industry Events to Connect with Netflix Executives

LinkedIn isn't just for conventional 9-to-5 jobs; it's a goldmine for entertainment professionals too. Use it to find and connect with Netflix executives and other decision-makers. Engage with their content, get on their radar, and when the time feels right, reach out with a personalized message.

Industry events, film festivals, and workshops are fertile grounds for networking. Attend screenings, panel discussions, and after-parties. Engage in meaningful conversations, and always have a succinct pitch ready. You never know when you might bump into someone who can introduce you to a Netflix executive.

3. Collaborating with Production Companies That Have Existing Ties with Netflix

Aligning with a reputable production company that has previously worked with Netflix can significantly bolster your pitch's credibility. These production houses understand the Netflix model, its preferences, and the intricacies of navigating its pitching process, offering your idea a polished, industry-approved lens.

The Pitch Meeting

This is it: the moment where your hours of preparation culminate. Let's delve into the nuances of ensuring your pitch meeting is as compelling as your idea.

1. Setting the Right Tone and Mood

Begin by reading the room. Understand that while you're passionate about your idea, you're essentially selling a vision. Be confident, yet open to feedback. Share personal anecdotes that inspired the show; make it relatable. If possible, use multimedia tools to add a visual dimension to your pitch.

2. What to Expect During the Pitch Meeting

While each pitch meeting is unique, some commonalities persist. Expect a mix of interest and skepticism. Be ready for interruptions and questions. There might be segments where you dive deep into your characters or plot, while others might revolve around logistical aspects like budgeting and timelines.

3. Common Questions and How to Address Them

Anticipate questions around audience demographics, series longevity (how many seasons you envision), and character development arcs. Also, be prepared to answer how your show is different from what's already out there. Address these questions confidently, showcasing both your knowledge of the industry and your commitment to the show's vision.

4. Do’s and Don’ts During the Meeting


  • Listen as much as you speak.
  • Stay open to feedback and possible adjustments.
  • Tailor your pitch to the interests of the decision-makers in the room.
  • Showcase your passion, but also your willingness to collaborate.


  • Oversell or promise things you can't deliver.
  • Get defensive over constructive criticism.
  • Ramble. Stick to your core message and the most engaging elements of your pitch.
  • Forget to discuss potential marketing and promotional strategies.

In conclusion, pitching a show to Netflix is a blend of preparation, passion, and adaptability. By ensuring you're pitching to the right people, preparing adequately, and navigating the pitch meeting with finesse, you maximize your chances of seeing your creative vision come to life on one of the world's most influential streaming platforms.



The world of streaming has experienced seismic shifts in recent years, with Netflix firmly establishing itself as the juggernaut of this digital evolution. Having your show featured on this platform isn't just a feather in your cap; it’s a monumental achievement that offers a global stage for your creativity.

Imagine the potential: your brainchild, streaming in over 190 countries, captivating audiences from different walks of life, cultures, and languages. It's not just about views or revenues (although those are substantial); it's about leaving an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. And while the arena is competitive, the rewards — both tangible and intangible — are unparalleled.

Yet, like all great endeavors, the road to Netflix is paved with challenges, and possibly, rejections. It's essential to remember that every 'no' is just a step closer to that coveted 'yes'. Feedback, even when it's tough, is a gift. It provides a fresh perspective, helping refine and hone your idea, making it even more compelling for the next pitch. The entertainment industry is replete with stories of now-legendary shows that faced numerous rejections before finding their home. Persistence, it seems, is as much a part of this industry as creativity.

However, while tenacity is crucial, so is genuine passion. Netflix, with its vast array of content, thrives on originality. And originality is birthed from passion. When you deeply believe in your concept, it shows. It resonates in the way you pitch, the way you defend your ideas, and the way you adapt. That passion becomes infectious, drawing others into your vision and increasing the chances of your dream translating into a show that millions might binge-watch.

So, as you step out, pitch deck in hand, brimming with ideas, remember: Netflix offers more than just a streaming platform. It provides a canvas for storytellers worldwide. Believe in your story, be persistent in your pitches, and never underestimate the power of genuine passion. Your tale, with its unique voice and perspective, might just be the next big thing everyone's talking about.


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