It’s a streaming world, and we just live in it.
With a majority of the world’s theaters closed due to Covid and Hollywood studios scrambling to find new distribution models, Netflix has already seen the Roaring Twenties with nearly 204 million subscribers taking the service globally and the company’s market capitalization at $ 221.7 billion. Netflix has announced that it will be releasing 70 movies in 2021 (the top 5 pre-pandemic studios can release up to 90 movie titles combined), and working in their favor, it looks like we’ll all be staying at home for awhile as we wait for new President Joe Biden’s 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days to go into effect.
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Netflix having already made a deal with Cinemark to show their movies on a shortened window – unable for a major chain to agree before the pandemic – Co-CEO and content director Ted Sarandos has been asked by Barclays media analyst Kannan Venkateshwar during fourth quarter earnings video streamer if a new source of revenue was on hand for the company at the box office (the implicit assumption being that AMC and Regal would agree to play Netflix tariff on a shortened window).
“Potentially,” Sarandos replied.
“We’ve never had a problem with films coming out in theaters, it’s that you have to enter this very long window of exclusivity to get to theaters. This has been the biggest challenge. So if those windows are going to collapse and we have easier access to show our films in theaters, I would like consumers to be able to make that choice of being outside or seeing it at home, which is became the norm during Covid. Sarandos explained.
And rather than throwing mud at the WarnerMedia HBO Max streaming service, founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings gave what looked like a boost to his rival’s distribution plan of releasing movies in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously day and date in 2021. But with an asterisk.
“Hopefully with Warner Bros-sort of Covid move, what we’ll see after Covid, like the second half of the year, is people go to the movies in droves, and watch their movies and they’re shown. premiering simultaneously on HBO Max, and that’s really going to pave the way for concurrency; it’s good for movie, help both online and streaming and also in theaters. But we have to wait until after Covid to have a clear reading of this, ”Hastings said.
On making Netflix a PVOD point of sale for studios looking to release their movies on a premium basis, Sarandos said, “We’re not saying it’s not (an attractive model), but the one. – This has been the most attractive model, both for consumers and our own business’ on the one-price, at-will, ad-free model.
He added that Netflix has been able to take big swings in what they schedule i.e. a foreign series like Lupine, as consumers open their minds to content, especially those who might have avoided captioned series. Essentially, consumers’ money is not at risk, as it is by title in the movies, so it is safe for them to try.
Venkateshwar also asked Sarandos if the streamer’s big plan of 70 films this year would lead them to a place where financial returns are low going forward.
Without getting any granular Sarandos, replied, “If you think about it compared to a handful of titles that end up making a huge return to the studio compared to the hundreds of barely-grossing titles, this is a great model for producers. And the fact that we can support him day in and day out on this type of volume and do projects that are otherwise quite difficult to do in some cases has been very encouraging for the filmmakers to embrace this type of model.