Netflix and HBO Max Want to Put You to Sleep: Inside Streamers’ Plans with Calm App and More

A show that makes you fall asleep? That’s the counterintuitive pitch that Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of original non-fiction and kids programming at HBO Max, received from Nutopia — the production company that brought you “Mankind The Story of All of Us” — and Calm, the meditation and mindfulness app.“We sat down, they played a sizzle reel, they dimmed the lights,” O’Connell recalled.

“By the end of the sizzle reel, our shoulders lowered, our breath was calmer — we could feel ourselves feeling good.”The pitch became “A World of Calm,” a 10-episode HBO Max series featuring zen stories gently narrated by the likes of Keanu Reeves and Nicole Kidman, accompanied by relaxing sounds and images.

It’s part of a growing segment that turns entertainment into “mindfulness content.” Rather than make something that excites, stimulates, and thrills, its goal is to make viewers to chill out, take a breath, or even fall sleep.

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