Less than two months after Netflix announced plans to add ad-supported tiers to its streaming subscription service, the international ad festival Cannes Lions has announced Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos as its Entertainment Person of the Year.
Cannes Lions, which now bills itself as an “international festival of creativity,” said Netflix would appear for the first time at the event this year, where Sarandos will receive his honor.
Sarandos will be joining Sway podcast host Kara Swisher and MediaLink’s Michael Kassan on the stage of Cannes’ Lumiere Theatre on June 23 to discuss his future plans for Netflix.
Cannes Lions Chairman Philip Thomas called Sarandos “a leading creative force who has developed a body of truly compelling content at Netflix, transforming the creative landscape over the last decade.”
The high-flying streamer was brought down to earth last quarter after posting disappointing figures showing it lost 200,000 subscribers. The company’s share price tanked on the news and, on an earnings call, co-CEO Reed Hastings and COO Greg Peters said Netflix was reversing its long-standing no-ads policy and would be introducing less-expensive ad-supported tiers to its service in a bid to bring in new customers.
Sarandos was recently featured in a New York Times profile where he again defended controversial Netflix comedy specials by Dave Chapelle and Ricky Gervais that have been criticized by viewers, as well as LGBTQ advocacy groups for their content referencing the trans community.
Sarandos is the second entertainment executive to be honored by Cannes Lions with its Entertainment Person of the year honor, following Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Micheals, who received the inaugural honor at the 2019 Cannes Lions festival.
The 2022 Cannes Lions runs June 20-24, 2022.