Once rejected by BBC and ITV, fans all over the world can watch the self-funded Nigerian comedy series on Netflix

Meet the Adebanjos , the British Sitcom created by South London duo, Debra Odutuyo and Andrew Osayemi, has launched worldwide on Netflix 9 years after the duo tried to get their series on BBC, ITV and SKY.

After being rejected multiple times from mainstream broadcasters the London-based duo raised the funds to independently produce the sitcom, which is about the culture clash between immigrant parents trying to raise their British kids.

They managed to produce 3 seasons (50 episodes) over the course of 6 years and at the start of November 2019 managed to secure a deal for Netflix to air the show worldwide and is now streaming around the world. 

Talk about Nigeria to the world! Ayiba’s Eyitemi Popo interviews Andrew Osayemi, co-creator of the new Netflix series to find out how he inked the deal.

Debra Odutuyo and Andrew Osayemi
How did you connect with Netflix? Was it happenstance or did you actively seek them out?
It was a bit of luck and a bit of persistence. I’ve been on the African TV scene for a long time – since 2011 when we realized that if we wasn’t going to get on any mainstream platforms in the UK we would have to explore new markets which would want our content.

Each year I would travel across Africa meeting TV stations in different countries and preselling them the license of the upcoming season of Meet the Adebanjos. As you could imagine that took a long time which is why after we did season 1 ourselves it took 2 years for season 2 and another two years for season 3. 

Through that journey I met so many talented TV executives and gained their trust and respect. At the start of 2019 I found out via LinkedIn, funnily enough, that one of those TV executives was joining Netflix. I reached out and the rest is history. I was able to negotiate a deal for the show to be on Netflix and it launched at the start of November.  

How did you position yourself to Netflix considering their other Nigerian acquisitions?
We are not local Nigerian content as the show is about Nigerians in the UK. We positioned it as a show which would show the comedic experiences of Nigerians raising kids aboard.

We also wanted to show the love between the husband and wife as I think that is sometimes missing when people look at African Diaspora stories . 

The cast of meet the Adebanjo’s

Creative entrepreneurs struggle a lot with valuing their work. How did you negotiate for the best possible deal with Netflix?
I have been negotiating deals with TV stations for the last 9 years so that gave me a lot of experience in that regard. We also had 3 seasons and were not a brand new product which helped.

We went with the mindset of strike the best deal possible for where the show was at and also to look at what other projects we could do with Netflix, which we are currently discussing.