Netflix wants you to know it’s not going to destroy the film industry. It’s going to save it — or at least a part of it.
Speaking at the Vanity Fair Summit on Tuesday, Netflix’s head of content Ted Sarandos emphasised that Netflix is moving to fill a niche currently ignored by Hollywood.
“There are movies that people really want to watch that are no longer being made and no longer being put in movie theatres because studios don’t want to make them anymore,” he said, according to Vanity Fair.
These movies are the mid-level films, the ones that don’t have superheroes or big explosions. Hollywood, Sarandos says, is increasingly focused on blockbusters that do well internationally.
And beyond being formulaic in the extreme, these films aren’t even always the ones American audiences want to see. In fact, there are many movies recently that have bombed in the US but done well overseas. These films make money.
Sarandos says Netflix is the antidote to that. He wants to “make the movie business bigger,” not smaller, by tapping underserved markets. And he said Netflix’s approach to buying film rights, by paying a flat fee, can be safer for producers. When acquiring a film, a traditional studio usually pays a small fee up front to get the rights, and then shares the profit if the film is a hit.
This can discourage certain types of risk-taking.
Sarandos also addressed the idea that Netflix is in a war with legacy enemies like cable companies and Hollywood.
“Consumers are changing their behaviour,” Sarandos said, according to CNET. “That isn’t a Netflix problem. Every industry has to deal with consumers changing their behaviour.”
And if people stop going to blockbuster movies, his reasoning implies, you can’t blame Netflix. Netflix isn’t tricking anyone, or seducing them. It’s simply giving the people what they want.