Netflix is shaking up its creative leadership team in Southeast Asia.
Erika North, the company's director of international original programming for the region since 2017, has been nudged out. She was replaced on Dec. 1 by former BBC executive Myleeta Aga, who will serve as director of content for Southeast Asia and Australia.
The changes are part of a re-examination inside the streamer of its overall creative approach to the fast-growing but wildly diverse Southeast Asia market, sources close to the company say.
"Erika [North] has been an integral part of launching our first originals from Southeast Asia and Taiwan and we wish her all the very best for the future," Netflix said in a statement. "Netflix is committed to growing our Asia programming," it added.
North joined Netflix in February 2017 after eight years at HBO Asia, where she was the network's head of programming and production, spearheading its first forays into self-produced localized original programming. At Netflix she forged new partnerships with the region's creative communities and developed and produced the company's first pair of local language originals: Malaysian supernatural thriller The Ghost Bride and Thai tsunami survival story The Stranded.
North also oversaw the development of Netflix's first trio of Chinese-language shows out of Taiwan, licensed some of the region's top series, and partnered on high-profile co-produced projects, such as the upcoming mini-series about the miraculous cave rescue of Thailand's Wild Boars soccer team.
With young demographics and a combined population of approximately 650 million, Southeast Asia represents a tantalizing growth market for Netflix — especially as it has begun to face market saturation and competitive headwinds from the likes of Disney and Apple in the U.S.
The challenges in Southeast Asia to rapid growth for a relatively high-cost subscription video offering, however, are myriad: cultural fragmentation, wildly diverging levels of economic development, relatively low local production values and a cost-sensitive consumer base.
Myleeta comes to Netflix with deep experience in coping with such challenges. Since 2009, she served as senior vice president and general manager at BBC Studios for Southeast Asia and India.
Her various credits include Indian remakes of hit BBC shows like The Office and Criminal Justice, which are both streaming on Disney-owned Star India network's Hotstar platform. Prior to joining the BBC, she was an executive producer at the Travel Channel, where she worked on Anthony Bourdain's ground breaking fan favourite Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.