Netflix Shakes Up Creative Leadership in Southeast Asia

Erika North, Myleeta Aga Split - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix; Courtesy of Myleeta Aga

Former HBO Asia executive Erika North, who spearheaded Netflix's first slate of originals in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, has left the company. BBC veteran Myleeta Aga has been brought on as the streamer looks to revamp its strategy in the region.

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 exited. On Dec. 1, former BBC executive Myleeta Aga stepped in as director of content for Southeast Asia and Australia.

The changes are part of a reexamination 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 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 and partnered on high-profile co-produced projects, such as the upcoming miniseries 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, starkly diverging levels of economic development, relatively low local production values and a cost-sensitive consumer base.

Aga comes to Netflix with experience in coping with such challenges. Since 2009, she served as senior vp 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's Hotstar platform. Prior to joining the BBC, she was an executive producer at the Travel Channel, where she worked on Anthony Bourdain's groundbreaking fan favorite Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.